November 18, 2016

Meet Gary and Lucy!

This week in Math we had a most romantic lesson! Yes, you read that correctly!
We talked about greater than/less than.

These guys:  > < 

It's my opinion that if we only teach children to give the bigger number the big mouth, then we haven't really done our job of teaching them what the symbols mean. Not to go on and on here, but if we only know that c-a-t spells cat, but not knowing what a cat is.  Sure, kids will know how to position the symbols, but they can't read the number sentence back to you.  I don't want my students to get to Grade 11 Math and not know what the teacher means when she writes: The answer is >12. 

So I'd like to introduce you to Gary Greater Than and Lucy Less Than.  
When we teach students how to draw these characters and tell the the story of how the two friends met and how they always stare lovingly into each other's eyes, they'll never forget how to use the symbols. Yes, they'll pretend to barf and groan and all the lovely-dovey stuff, but they'll laugh and that's when the learning sticks.  

We even took it up a notch today! I asked the students to complete this number sentence: 10<___. We'll continue to practice this particular aspect of the lesson in class, but it would make for excellent home review over the next few nights, especially for those boys and girls in my class who like a challenge! 

There are all kinds of cutesy alligator and crocodile activities out there to "sort of" teach this concept, (like I said, "give the bigger number the bigger mouth") but they don't address the matter of whether or not the child can tell you what the symbol actually means.  I have found that by using my Gary and Lucy characters, (who are kind of cute, if I do say so myself) students fully understand this concept, and they understand it for life. 


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