Year 1

FREE Key Stage 1 / KS1 maths resources

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We can compare numbers up to 20 and say which number is bigger.

Year 1 Unit 2

What we are learning:

There are two separate skills here
– knowing that numbers run in sequence and some are bigger than others
– knowing what makes one number bigger than another

Children will need to ‘see’ this before they ‘know’ it, e.g. use objects, talk about and compare two sets of objects – one set of 7 and one set of 3.
Ask your child, What do you notice about the two plates of biscuits?

When they are ready, look at numbers on a number line together and see and talk about where these numbers are on the number line. A number line is any written line with numbers on it, like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

We are not focusing on how much bigger or smaller the two numbers are at the moment, just which is bigger and which is smaller, or whether they are the same.

Find things that you child will enjoy counting and ordering– toy cars, hair clips, food items, natural objects (conkers, pine cones, pebbles, leaves).

Once we can do this with numbers up to 10 we can challenge ourselves with larger groups of up to 20 objects.


Activities you can do at home:

Play with sets of objects at home – Ask, Which number is bigger/smaller?
Make sure the focus is on the number and not the size of the object by using a range of objects (large ones and small ones) – for example 5 potatoes, 8 Smarties.

Include identical sets – again use objects of different sizes 3 apples, 3 peas (they are the same).

Label the sets with the written number – (post it notes are useful).

Ask, Can we put these numbers in order? (smallest to biggest and biggest to smallest).

Ask, How can we check we are right? (counting objects, finding the numbers on a number line).

Good questions to ask:

Which number/group is bigger/smaller?
Which group has more than/ less than?
Which number comes before/after?

If your child:

Has to count each group from one again each time they look at it.
Let them do this to establish their concept of the size of the group and to compare it to another group.
Can compare two groups of objects easily.
Try comparing three groups of objects to see which is the biggest, and which is the smallest.

Extension Activity

Please use this activity when you think your child understands the unit of work. It will deepen and extend your child’s understanding of this unit.


Extension activity (PDF)