WEBVTT
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Is two less than, equal to, or greater than one?
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In this problem, we’re given two numbers.
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One of them is written as a numeral, and the other is written as a word.
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These numbers are two and one.
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We’re being asked to compare them.
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We need to choose which one of these three symbols belongs in between the two numbers.
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In order to be able to compare the numbers, we need to understand what each of the three symbols means.
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So let’s go through them one by one.
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Out of the three symbols, perhaps the two that are trickiest to remember are the two that are similar to arrows.
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This might be because we use the equal sign a lot more often.
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Or it could be because the arrows look so similar.
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It’s easy to confuse them.
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So let’s remind ourselves what each symbol means.
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Firstly, it’s important to remember that when we compare two numbers, we always read comparison statements from left to right.
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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.
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If you can imagine making two little towers of cubes and putting them inside the symbol.
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Less cubes would fit on the left of the symbol than on the right.
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So if we were to read this symbol from left to right, it represents the statement “is less than”.
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The second symbol is the opposite way around.
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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.
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Again, a good way of remembering what this symbol means is to imagine our towers of cubes.
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This time, we can see that more cubes fit on the left than on the right.
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So the number on the left is greater than the number on the right.
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Of course, we already know that the equal sign represents “is the same as”.
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Interestingly, we could still use our tower-of-cubes idea to show that both sides of an equal symbol are exactly the same.
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Which of these symbols belongs in between two and one?
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Remember, we always read our statement from left to right.
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Should we say two is less than one, two is greater than one, or two is the same as one?
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Let’s build two towers of cubes to prove which number is greater, a tower of two cubes and a tower of one cube.
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The tower of two cubes is taller than the tower of one cube.
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So we’ve proved that two is greater than one.
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So now we know which of our three symbols to write in between the two numbers.
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Two is greater than one.