Compare two two-digit numbers based on meanings of the tens and ones digits, recording the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, and <.


Click here to learn about the process used to unpack the standards and create learning targets.

Unpacking the Standard: 1.NBT.B.3
Student Friendly Learning Target: 1.NBT.B.3
Visual Representation of Learning Target: 1.NBT.B.3


Once students are able to decompose a two-digit number into bundles of tens and remaining ones, they can use that knowledge to compare two-digit numbers with one another. From here, they are then able to put numbers in order from least to greatest or vice versa, followed with the use of the >, =, and < symbols.

Understanding the Standard:

    • Provide students with a variety of opportunities to compare two-digit numbers, beginning with numbers that have different values in the tens and ones positions. This exploration should include the use of base 10 models, manipulatives, technologies and other visual media that will enhance a student’s understanding that the amount of bundles of tens (i.e., the tens digit) will determine how it can be compared with another two-digit number.
    • Provide students with problems/opportunities to compare numbers with the same tens digits, but with different ones digits. Once students recognize that two numbers have the same tens digit, then they can explore how those numbers can be compared using the ones position. Manipulatives, pictures, technologies, drawings and concrete models will enrich a student’s understanding of this concept (e.g., base 10 blocks, ten frames, unifix cubes).
    • Provide students with the opportunity to practice the use of mathematical symbols <, =, >, and to write an inequality or equality to record the result of a comparison.

      Specific Questions to Focus Instruction:

        • Can students identify the values of digits in a two-digit number?
        • If 2 numbers have the same amount of tens, can students move to the ones position and compare 2 two-digit numbers?
        • Are students able to justify their reasoning through verbal language, the use of mathematical symbols, drawings, pictures, and concrete representations?
        • Can students use the mathematical symbols <, =, > to record the result of a comparison?
        • Can students list numbers in the order they would appear on the number line?


        Prior to: Students will have demonstrated mastery in comparing single digit numbers with the use of drawings, models, or picture representations while also referring to those comparisons using appropriate mathematical language. See K.CC.C.7.

        At Grade Level: Building upon skills mastered previously, students will now show the comparisons between two numbers using the appropriate mathematical symbols <, > and =. Students are able to justify their answer through a variety of displays including drawings, pictures and concrete models.

        Moving Beyond: Students build on their mastery of comparing numbers and using appropriate mathematical symbols in order to compare numbers through 1,000. Additionally, they can order a variety of numbers from least to greatest (or vice versa) using their knowledge of the value of digits. See 2.NBT.A.4.