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Question Video: Comparing Two Numbers up to 9 in Written Form Mathematics

Is 2 <, = or > one?

03:18

Video Transcript

Is two less than, equal to, or greater than one?

In this problem, we’re given two numbers. One of them is written as a numeral, and the other is written as a word. These numbers are two and one. We’re being asked to compare them. We need to choose which one of these three symbols belongs in between the two numbers. In order to be able to compare the numbers, we need to understand what each of the three symbols means. So let’s go through them one by one.

Out of the three symbols, perhaps the two that are trickiest to remember are the two that are similar to arrows. This might be because we use the equal sign a lot more often. Or it could be because the arrows look so similar. It’s easy to confuse them. So let’s remind ourselves what each symbol means. Firstly, it’s important to remember that when we compare two numbers, we always read comparison statements from left to right.

So when we look at the first symbol from left to right, we can see that the part on the left is narrower than the part on the right. If you can imagine making two little towers of cubes and putting them inside the symbol. Less cubes would fit on the left of the symbol than on the right. So if we were to read this symbol from left to right, it represents the statement “is less than”.

The second symbol is the opposite way around. Reading it from left to right, we can see that the wider part of the symbol is on the left this time and the narrower part is on the right. Again, a good way of remembering what this symbol means is to imagine our towers of cubes. This time, we can see that more cubes fit on the left than on the right. So the number on the left is greater than the number on the right.

Of course, we already know that the equal sign represents “is the same as”. Interestingly, we could still use our tower-of-cubes idea to show that both sides of an equal symbol are exactly the same. Which of these symbols belongs in between two and one? Remember, we always read our statement from left to right. Should we say two is less than one, two is greater than one, or two is the same as one?

Let’s build two towers of cubes to prove which number is greater, a tower of two cubes and a tower of one cube. The tower of two cubes is taller than the tower of one cube. So we’ve proved that two is greater than one. So now we know which of our three symbols to write in between the two numbers. Two is greater than one.

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