The Greater Than Sign and Less Than Signs are both symbols that are commonly used in mathematical equations, comparisons, and inequalities to show the relationships between numbers or variables. These symbols can be used to compare two values. In the expression above “8 > 4” reads as “Eight is greater than 4.” See below for a full table of Greater than symbols, definitions, and examples.
Greater than sign is represented by this symbol “>“.
Less than sign is represented by this symbol “<“.
Equal to sign is represented by this symbol “=“.
Learning About Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To
Here are some helpful tricks for memorizing equality and inequality symbols. The open end of the alligator’s mouth is always going to face the larger value number….because alligators have big appetites! Use these free printable math teaching tools in your elementary math classroom.
Free printable Greater Than sign featuring the Greater Alligator to help young students learn.
Free PDF printable of the Less Than sign featuring a hungry alligator facing the right.
Free printable Equality and Inequality posters, this one featuring the equal sign.
This free printable PDF chart features alligator symbols to represent the greater than, less than, or equal to symbols. Vocabulary is included as well as an example with traditional >, <, = signs. Expression sentences are provided for reference. This makes a great anchor chart for your classroom instruction.
Here is an expanded Inequality chart for older students who are not only learning greater than and less than, but also greater than or equal to, less than or equal to, and not equal. Math symbols are included as well as definitions and examples.
|>||greater than||5 > 2|
|≥||greater than or equal to||jellybeans ≥ 100|
|<||less than||8 < 10|
|≤||less than or equal to||jellybeans ≤ 25|
|=||equals||5 + 1 = 6|
|≠||does not equal||3 – 1 ≠ 7|
When to Introduce Greater Than Less Than Symbols?
Learning to compare numbers is a skill that is generally introduced during the kindergarten year by adding comparison vocabulary to a budding understanding of the concept of number value. Once students have a solid understanding of counting as well as the concept of numbers representing quantities, you can begin to teach comparisons.
How to Teach Greater Than Less Than
Students are asked to compare the value of single-digit numbers and decide which is greater than less than, or equal to, the other number. This can be as informal as presenting two numbers as asking the question, “Which number is greater than the other?” or “Which number is less than the other.” Once you’re students have a familiarity with the math vocabulary of greater than and less than, you can introduce the symbols to represent the vocabulary.
Free printable flashcards for learning greater than, less than, and equal to. These cards fit our universal math learning center mats with 2.5″ squares. Includes Alligators, text vocabulary, black, and outline versions of the inequality and equality symbols.
Students can form their own inequality expressions using the number flashcards and the inequality cards. Provide students with hands-on manipulatives like counters to visually represent their expression.
These inequality expression cards can be used to reinforce key vocabulary and understanding. Each card features a visual expression and a text expression. These cards are large enough for use on a word wall or with our learning mats.
Students decipher the inequalities by breaking them apart and representing them with objects and symbols. Place an expression at the top and allow students to recreate with counters, buttons, or other small objects.
Students will work on less than, greater than, and equal to skills as well as counting, comparing and so much more. These are a great first step towards deeper understanding of building inequality expressions.
Comparing Numbers Worksheets
(soon) Free printable comparing numbers worksheets for students to begin writing equality and inequality symbols and expressions. These comparison worksheets build student skills from single-digit numbers through four-digit numbers.