Using and understanding the greater than less than symbols was a tough challenge for our first grader. He often knew which number was the larger of the two, but knowing which symbol to use, > or <, was more difficult.
There are a couple of different ways to teach proper symbol usage.
We had luck using the "Pac-Man" or "Alligator" explanation. When he saw the symbol as Pac-Man (or an alligator) wanting to eat the larger number, it finally clicked. The worksheets below build upon those themes.
Click on the pictures below to open a printable file in another tab. Each paper has instructions on it, but I'll also cover them below. For now, go ahead and print out your practice page:
All of the papers work on the same basic idea. There are two numbers side by side and your child needs to put either the greater than or less than symbol between them.
The first math worksheet uses the idea of an Alligator representing the greater than and less than sign. Explain to the child that the alligator wants to eat the larger cookie. So the greater than sign, >, looks like an alligator eating the cookie on the left and vice versa for the lesser than symbol.
If your child is familiar with Pac-Man (sadly I think more and more children are not aware of this classic arcade game), you can explain the symbols as Pac-Man eating ghosts--the larger ghosts as shown in the second worksheet.
The rest of the handouts are pretty similar whether it's the child wanting to eat the larger cupcake (worksheet 4) or the bird trying to eat the biggest worm in the biggest apple (last paper).
For more number lessons and first grade math papers, see the pages below.
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I've put together a list of educational resources that include links to more free work sheets, workbooks, home school curriculums, teacher resources, and learning toys.