Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ordering and Comparing Whole Numbers

 I find myself apologizing to you again for neglecting my blog. School has been happily busy and due to a tropical storm in the Gulf I was without power the past few days. My power is fully restored now and I have updates. Last week my wonderful students and I practice ordering and comparing whole numbers (and later decimals). We talked about how to line up the numbers by their place value and compare or to think of it as money. My kids love to think of anything in math as money-should this worry me? Anyways, after practicing I broke out my handy number necklaces. My number necklaces are simply numbers written on brightly colored index cards that are then hole punched and made into necklaces using yarn. I gave each kid one. Then I called two students at a time to stand in front of the room. The rest of us would make our comparison sign or "alligator mouth" with our arms. Then I would have a student read our number sentence (13,402 is greater than 12,394). After doing that a few times, I called students up in groups of four. A fifth student would then arranged the students (and their number necklace) by least to greatest or greatest to least. Finally I called each group (my kids sit in groups) up to the front (one group at a time ) and asked them to get in order from least to greatest. By the last group we were in order. I found it easier to call them by groups than to just let them all go at one time. To call students back to their seats I said things such as "if your number has a two in the thousands place please walk to your seat" to reinforce place value. You can use number necklaces for multiplication facts, decimals, percents, fractions or any combo you choose! Here are some photos!

We are doing our "alligator mouths" to compare our friends' number necklaces.

I had them put their cards over their faces for privacy.  And they thought it was funny.  Don't you love 4th grade humor?


  1. Love the number necklaces! I never would have thought of that! We are getting ready to teach graphing? Any good suggestions?


  2. Super activity! I am actually starting comparing and ordering tomorrow. I may have to use your idea!!

    By the way, I nominated you as one of my Top 10 blogs! Go here to view my post:

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  3. This is a fantastic way to practice working with numbers! I can see how it would be so engaging for students!

    Teaching in the Early Years by Shelley Gray

  4. How do you use the number necklaces for multiplication practice?