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Mnemonic for Less Than and Greater Than

Date: 08/11/99 at 15:01:18
From: Ron Papworth
Subject: Less than or Greater than?

I am trying to teach my 8-year-old the greater than and less than 
symbols. What was that old adage for telling how to read them 
correctly? It was something to do with the < symbol being a mouth that 
would eat the larger number. Do you know what I am referring to?

Date: 08/16/99 at 16:54:50
From: Doctor TWE
Subject: Re: Less than or Greater than?

Hi Ron -

Your recollection of the mnemonic (memory aid) is right. The way I've 
heard it (with appropriate illustrations) was that an alligator - 
which is notoriously hungry - always wants to eat the larger number.

     3 < 8   Alligator wants to eat the 8, so 3 is less than 8

     5 > 2   Alligator wants to eat the 5, so 5 is greater than 2

I guess you can modernize it and simplify the drawing by calling it a 
hungry Pac-Man instead.

- Doctor Twe, The Math Forum   
Associated Topics:
Elementary Definitions
Elementary Number Sense/About Numbers
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Number Sense/About Numbers

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