As parents, we often assume that concepts like “more than” and “less than” are simple for our children to grasp. But for many students, these ideas can be surprisingly tricky to fully understand. These concepts show up in various forms across Math questions, and if not mastered early, they can lead to confusion.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the common challenges students face with “more than” and “less than” questions and offer insights on how to help your child master them with confidence.

__Addition and Subtraction ____Question: Type 1__

This first type of question is a “more than”/“less than” question in its most basic form. Information is presented in a straightforward manner and all the children have to do is subtract 5 from 25 or add 5 to 20 to find how many marbles Frank or Jason have respectively. Answers can be found in 1 simple step.

It is important at this stage to reinforce the idea that if Jason has 5 more, Frank has 5 less. You would be surprised how many students can think of it one way but not the other. It eludes them that the gap between the two is the same.

__Addition and Subtraction ____Question: Type 2__

This second type of question requires students to do an additional step, which is adding both boys together. It is quite similar to the first type of question with regards to the level of understanding needed about “more than”/”less than”.

__Addition and Subtraction ____Question: Type 3__

This third type has more variations that can be asked as well. Like how many books Fred has, or how many books they have in total, or instead of giving us how many Tom has, they can give us how many Fred has. However, regardless of how the information changes, as long as the students are able to accurately determine who has more or less and by how much, they should be able to solve for whatever they are asked without any issues.

Next, we shall look at some of the types of multiplication and division questions that can appear for “more than”/”less than”.

__Multiplication and Division ____Question: Type 1__

This is a very common question that appears in examination papers. While the information presented or what the question is asking for can change, the solution is simple once the students understand the concept. The greatest pitfall when it comes to this type of question is that students will divide before subtracting. It is important for them to understand that units have to be equal before division can take place.

__Multiplication and Division ____Question: Type 2__

In the examples above, while the final answers may differ, the approach to solving them is the same. It’s crucial for students to grasp that “4 times more” is not the same as “4 more.” Students often get confused and mistakenly draw 5 units for Pam, thinking it means Pam has 4 more units than Rachel. To solve this correctly, students need to either multiply 5 by 3 to find how many more, or multiply 5 by 4 to calculate Pam’s total.

These are just some examples of how “more than” and “less than” questions can appear in exams. It’s vital that your child understand the various ways these questions are phrased to avoid mistakes due to misunderstanding.

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