Lesson Plan for Kindergarten Math: Bigger and Smaller

Two apples on a wooden tabletop, one big and one small

 mevans / Getty Image


Students will compare two objects and use the vocabulary bigger/smaller, taller/shorter, and more/less to describe their respective attributes.

Class: Kindergarten

Duration: 45 minutes each during two class periods


  • Cereal (Cheerios or something else with similar pieces)
  • Used pencils and/or crayons
  • Manipulatives such as unifix cubes and/or Cuisenaire rods
  • Prepared booklets (see below)
  • Pictures of cookies or fruit in various sizes

Key Vocabulary: more than, less than, bigger, smaller, taller, shorter

Objectives: Students will compare two objects and use the vocabulary bigger/smaller, taller/shorter, and more/less to describe their respective attributes.

Standards Met: K.MD.2. Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of”/“less of” the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.

Lesson Introduction

If you want to bring in a large cookie or cake to divide among the class, they will be very engaged in the introduction! Otherwise, a picture will do the trick. Tell them the story of “You cut, you choose,” and how that is how many parents tell their children to divide things in half so no one gets a bigger slice. Why would you want a bigger slice of cookie or cake? Because then you get more!

Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. On the first day of this lesson, show pictures to students of cookies or fruit. Which cookie would they want to eat, if this looks good to them? Why? Highlight the language of “bigger” and “smaller” - if something looks yummy, you’ll want the bigger portion, if it doesn’t look good, you’ll probably ask for the smaller portion. Write “bigger” and “smaller” on the board.
  2. Pull the unifix cubes out and let students make two lengths - one that is obviously bigger than the other. Write the words “longer” and “shorter” on the board and have students hold up their longer stack of cubes, then their shorter stack of cubes. Do this a couple of times until you are sure that they know the difference between longer and shorter.
  3. As a closing activity, have students draw two lines - one longer, and one shorter. If they want to get creative and make one tree that is bigger than another, that’s fine, but for some that don’t like to draw, they can use the simple lines to illustrate the concept.
  4. On the next day, review the pictures students did at the end of the day - hold a few good examples up, and review bigger, smaller, taller, shorter with the students.
  1. Call some student examples to the front of the classroom and ask who is “taller”. The teacher is taller than Sarah, for example. So that means that Sarah is what? Sarah must be “shorter” than the teacher. Write “taller” and “shorter” on the board.
  2. Hold out some Cheerios in one hand, and fewer pieces in the other. If you were hungry, which hand would you want?
  3. Pass out booklets to students. These can be made as easily as taking four pieces of paper and folding them in half and stapling them. On two facing pages, it should say “more” and “less”, then on two other pages “bigger” and “smaller” and so on, until you have filled the book. Students should take some time to draw pictures that represent these concepts. Pull students aside in small groups of three or four to write a sentence that describes their picture.

Homework/Assessment: Have students and their parents add pictures to the booklet.

Evaluation: The final booklet can be used to evaluate the understanding that the students have, and you can also discuss their pictures with them as you pull them in small groups.