Math Background

Lesson: Ordering Greater Numbers
Developing the Concept

With a solid foundation in place value, students can proceed to ordering greater numbers.

Materials: transparency made from Learning Tool 4 in the Learning Tools Folder

Preparation: Write the value of each place on Learning Tool 4 and then make a transparency.

place-value chart

Prerequisite Skills and Background: Students should know place value to hundred thousands and know how to order numbers through hundreds.

Write 8,901; 354,068; and 92,551 on the place-value chart.

  • Say: We're going to put these numbers in order from greatest to least.
  • Ask: Where do you start when you compare numbers?
    Students should recall that you start with the greatest place.
  • Ask: What is the greatest place of these numbers?
    Students should recognize that the hundred thousands place is the greatest place.
  • Ask: Do all of the numbers have a digit in the hundred thousands place? (no) What is the greatest number? (354,068)
    Write354,068 on the board and wipe it off the transparency.
  • Ask: What is the greatest place in the two remaining numbers? (ten thousands place)
  • Ask: Do both numbers have a digit in the ten thousands place? (no) What is the next greatest number? (92,551)
    Wipe 92,551 off the transparency and write it on the board after 354,068. Write “>” between the two numbers.
  • Ask: What does this symbol mean? (is greater than) Which number comes last? (8,901)
    Wipe 8,901 off the transparency and write it on the board after 92,551. Write “>” between these numbers. Have students read the three numbers in order from left to right. (354,068 is greater than 92,551; 92,551 is greater than 8,901.)

    Erase the board and write 741,961; 738,988; and 742,054 on the place-value chart.

  • Say: We're going to put these numbers in order from least to greatest.
  • Ask: What is the greatest place of these numbers? (hundred thousands place)
  • Ask: What do you notice about the digits in the hundred thousands place?
    Students should observe that the digits are the same.
  • Ask: What is the next greatest place? (ten thousands place)
  • Ask: Which digit in the ten thousands place has the least value? (3) What is the least number? (738,988)
    Write738,988 on the board and wipe it off the transparency.
  • Ask: What do you notice about the digits in the ten thousands place of the two remaining numbers?
    Students should observe that the digits are the same.
  • Ask: What is the next greatest place? (thousands place)
  • Ask: Which digit in the thousands place has the least value? (1) What is the next smallest number? (741,961)
    Wipe 741,961 off the transparency and write it on the board after 738,988. Write “<” between the two numbers.
  • Ask: What does this symbol mean? (is less than) What number comes last? (742,054)
    Wipe 742,054 off the transparency and write it on the board after 741,961. Write “<” between these two numbers. Have students read the numbers from left to right. (738,988 is less than 741,961; 741,961 is less than 742,054.)

    Repeat these steps for 30,644; 830,644; and 831,958. Have students write the numbers in order from greatest to least.

Wrap-Up and Assessment Hints
Provide students with ample opportunity to order greater numbers that have a different number of places. Reinforce the need to start with the greatest place. Use the questioning strategies in this lesson to assess students' understanding of the concept.


Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 3