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This lesson provided by:
Author: Summer Payne
System:Mobile County
School:Pearl Haskew Elementary
Lesson Plan ID: 33125

Who is the Greatest?


Students will gain more conceptual understanding of comparing three digit numbers. They will build numbers using base ten blocks and a hundreds chart and work with a partner to decide which number is greater. They will be making decisions about which place value to put the digits in to construct the greatest number.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

Content Standard(s):
MA2013(2) 5. Understand that the three digits of a three-digit number represent amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones; e.g., 706 equals 7 hundreds, 0 tens, and 6 ones. Understand the following as special cases: [2-NBT1]
MA2013(2) 8. Compare two three-digit numbers based on meanings of the hundreds, tens, and ones digits using >, =, and < symbols to record the results of comparisons. [2-NBT4]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will construct 3 digit numbers to make the greatest number by deciding what place value to assign each digit. Students will then compare two numbers to decide which number is greater. Students will use the correct symbol to show greater than, less than, or equal to.

Additional Learning Objective(s):  
Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 31 to 60 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

sets of digit cards (attached) OR a set of playing cards per pair, base ten blocks (optional), recording sheet (attached), place value chart (attached)

Technology Resources Needed:

Interactive whiteboard with virtual base ten blocks may be used (optional). To use the virtual base ten blocks you may need a Java update. Check to see if they work on your computer:


Students should have knowledge of three digit numbers and place value. Students should be familiar with a place value chart and comparing numbers. This is an activity that could accompany a lesson on place value or comparing numbers.

Make sure links to digit cards and base ten blocks will open on your computer if you choose to use them.


Engagement/Motivation: Ask students would they rather have $245 or $175. Explain to a partner why you chose your answer. Let students share their answers or what they discussed with their partner. Discuss the importance of being able to compare numbers. Have students think about times when they would need to compare numbers or quantities.

Review greater than >, less than <, and =. Show several examples and have students decide which symbol to place between the numbers.


1. Place students in pairs and give each pair a place value chart (attached), digit cards from  or use a set of playing cards (remove face cards and 10's and use aces as 1's), and base ten blocks (optional). Virtual base ten blocks can be found at

2. Explain to students that the object of the game is to have the greatest 3 digit number.

3. Model playing the game with a student. Each player will draw 3 cards. The cards need to be arranged so that they make the greatest number possible. Do not let your partner see what you are doing. Students can build the number with the base ten blocks if they need a visual.

4. Students will then compare their numbers. The student with the greatest number will say "I am the greatest." That student will get a point. The student with the most points at the end of the playing time wins the game. They will use the recording sheet (attached) to keep track of points and to write comparisons using the symbols <,>, =.

5. After the game, ask the following questions: What strategy did you use when making your 3 digit number? Why did you use that strategy? Did anyone think about it a different way?



Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. WhoistheGreatest.docx
Assessment Strategies:

Write your name on an index card and do the following:

Make the greatest three digit number with the following digits: 4, 7, 6.

Then, make the smallest three digit number using those same digits.

Write the following and fill in the missing symbol:

465 ____ 556            326_____236     234_____234


Have students play the game again making 4 digit numbers.


For students who are struggling with comparing numbers, have them build 2 digit numbers with base ten blocks on a place value chart. As they start to grasp the concept, move back up to 3 digit numbers.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
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