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Teaching Tricks That Work

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Mister Teacher, a 3rd grade math teacher, is teaching his kids to compare number values by using the "alligator mouth eats the greater number" trick. They seem to have gotten the idea:

Almost all of them had the inequality sign pointing the right way on their exercises, but almost all of them had drawn HUGE inequality signs, complete with jagged teeth, forked tongues, and in some cases, firey breath.

And by the way, if Pac Man was involved in your learning of this concept, you're apparently showing your age.


2 Comments

I'm a fifth grade math teacher, and every year I have students who vaguely remember something about an alligator, but still have no understanding about the signs for inequality, and continue to use the wrong sign. I have no problem with mnemonic devices, but let's teach some that have some connection to math. For greater than and less than, I have students put 2 dots (like a colon) next to the larger number, and one dot next to the smaller number. They connect the dots to form the correct sign. They always remember that 2 is greater than one, so two dots go next to the greater number. So, this is a trick that has some connection to math.

Bonnie...the 3 dots work! Thanks for the info!

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