Skill 10A Less Than < > More Than Symbols Below are 4 blue symbols used to compare numbers in math problems. Circle whether the symbol means "more than" or "less than" from below each symbol. 1. < 2. > 3. > 4. < more than less than more than less than more than less than more than less than COMMENT: It is very important for a student to look at the symbol and say it without hesitation. If there is any hesitation, you must practice the skill worksheet. Our apologies for the long comment here, but the teaching of these symbols creates serious problems in most school classrooms.  First, the < symbol means "less than," while the > symbol means "more than." They are supposed to be used for comparing the value of numbers. Before you start working with actual problems it is highly recommended to first teach the meaning of the symbols by saying their actual name. Some teachers jump right into using the symbols with numbers without teaching the true meaning and name of  the symbols. They get around this by telling the students they can get the problems correct if they  "pretend the symbol is an alligator and have its mouth bite the bigger number."  While this trick enables the student to get the correct answer, it does absolutely nothing to teach what the symbol itself actually means!  Our goal here folks is to teach that both <> symbols actually mean something so students can compare the value of two numbers and not simply play a meaningless game that the wider end of a symbol is going to gobble up a number.    In other words, when your student sees a less than < symbol, he or she should be able to say that it actually means less than and not a backwards more than symbol with its wider end biting the bigger number.  It is essential that your student can see a math sentence such as 5 < 7 and be able to say the words "5 is less than 7" rather than just, "the alligator (wider end of the symbol) bites the 7."  You can imagine how much confusion this would generate with larger problems and more in depth math concepts.  If you are going to use a "trick" to help students get correct answers, the best one is "Left is Less" - "Right is More," which associates the meaning of the symbol with its orientation as an arrow.  So, before using the symbol to compare numbers, lets see if the true meaning of the symbol is mastered.  Do not take the easy way out and use a trick that gets the right answer,  but does nothing to teach this critically important math concept. Our initial < > worksheet for this skill will greatly help with learning the name of these symbols.