Math Center Comparing Numbers

This tally chart activity came to be because I wanted something fun for learning greater than, less than, and equal to math with my preschooler, so I grabbed some mini erasers and a balance scale for this math center and got to work.


Math Center Tally Chart Materials


Free Handout for Comparing Numbers

Here is a link to my Teacher’s Pay Teachers page for the free PDF document that I printed, laminated, and used during this lesson. You can write on the laminated handout or place mini erasers on the chart.

Click on the image above for the free handout. Print, laminate, and let children use to show their work comparing numbers.

Initiating Activity with Sorting Mini Lesson

We grabbed three mini sorting trays and all the mini erasers and sorted/categorized all of these cute little counters. The kids then picked their favorite ones to use for the following comparing number tally chart activity.

Mini erasers were first sorted into categories by my kids. Then we grabbed chart paper, markers, and started comparing numbers.

Making a Tally Chart

I used a different color marker for each of the five categories on our chart. We picked crab, elephant, cat, bear, and fish mini erasers. Before charting the totals for each section, we made bundles of five animals on the paper above the line we were working on. The goal of this first step was for the kids to practice counting by five and checking their work.

We continued counting, tallying, sorting the mini erasers for each of the five categories. As we finished each section, we paused to compare the total eraser amounts. Then, using the handout, we wrote the numbers. I used the strategy that an alligator is always hungry and prefers the greater number to eat. That is why his mouth is always open toward the bigger number to gobble it all up. And his tail is closed toward the smaller number because it just isn’t big enough for him.

Using the Balance Scale to Practice Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To

My kid’s favorite part of this activity was checking their work on the balance scale. They grabbed all the erasers for each category, and group by group, they compared the totals to see which was more greater than, less than, or equal to the next group. My daughter loved writing it on the handout and comparing it to the scale to see if her answers were the same.

When they were done with the mini erasers from our chart, they continued playing and started using gems, and other erasers to continue measuring on the scale and practice making the two sides of the scale equal. Then they would take the buckets off the scale and count to check if they really were equal for both sides.

Overall, we will use this activity more as an engaging way to check their work and review the skill of comparing numbers.

Amazon Products Used From This Lesson

Below are affiliate links, I may earn from qualifying purchases. But really, they are the products I used with my kids, and I loved them.

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