Locate, order and compare numbers from 0 to 20 using the number line and terms less than, equal to or greater than.


Clarification 1: Within this benchmark, the expectation is not to use the relational symbols =,> or <.
Clarification 2: When comparing numbers from 0 to 20, both numbers are plotted on the same number line. 
Clarification 3: When locating numbers on the number line, the expectation includes filling in a missing number by counting from left to right on the number line.
General Information
Subject Area: Mathematics (B.E.S.T.)
Grade: K
Strand: Number Sense and Operations
Status: State Board Approved

Benchmark Instructional Guide

Connecting Benchmarks/Horizontal Alignment


Terms from the K-12 Glossary

  • Equal Sign 
  • Number Line


Vertical Alignment

Previous Benchmarks


Next Benchmarks



Purpose and Instructional Strategies

The purpose of this benchmark is to build on knowledge from comparing in MA.K.NSO.1.4 and to introduce the number line. This benchmark will deepen student understanding of the relationship between numbers, as well as provide the foundation for the number line as a strategy for operations later on. 
  • Instruction includes varied orientations and ranges of the number line. 
    • For example, given number lines can be horizontal, vertical, starting at 0, starting at another number, include blanks or an open number line (MTR.5.1). 
  • Instruction includes making a connection to measurement when comparing numbers on a number line, which will help prepare students for using rulers in later grades.


Common Misconceptions or Errors

  • Students may assume that all number lines start at 0 or 1. 
  • When looking at number lines with hash marks, students may number the spaces between the hash marks instead of the hash marks.


Strategies to Support Tiered Instruction

  • Instruction includes building a number line using number cards. Students will benefit from experiences in which large number cards are used and placed on the floor so that students construct relationships about numbers and how far away or close they are to other numbers. 
  • Instruction focuses on building language for thinking about numbers and describing the location on the number line. 
    • For example, questions or statements that can be shared to elicit student thinking about numbers and their positions are: 
      • “Can you find the number 12?” 
      • “Where is 10? How far away is it to 12? How do you know?” 
      •  “Is 11 greater than, or less than 13? How do you know?” 
      • “Here is the number 12. It comes before 13 and after 11.”
      • “Ten is two away from 12.” 
      • “Eleven is less than 13 because it is two less than 13.” 
  • Instruction includes building a number line to identify the value of hash marks. 
    • For example, using large number cards for the space and string/tape or marker to represent the hash mark/value on the number line. 
      • Start at zero, place the number one next to the zero hash mark and then draw or identify the end of the card as the mark to represent one. Remove the large number card and replace with an arc/hop to show the jump from zero to one. Repeat this for each number up to 20. 
      • Scaffolds for building a number line can include providing the student with numbered strips to reference or using number cards to locate and match numbers on a number line.


Instructional Tasks

Instructional Task 1 

In a small group, provide students with number lines and objects to count, like paperclips or bears. Ask students to represent two numbers, such as 7 and 9, using objects organized over the number line. Ask students which number is greater? How do they know? Allow students to share strategies and thinking with the group. Students should begin to understand that if there is more of one object, the count will extend further to the right. 


Instructional Task 2 

Provide students a number line to answer the questions below. 
  • Part A. What’s the third number following 6? 
  • Part B. What’s the fifth number before 14?


Instructional Items

Instructional Item 1 

Find one more than 12 and one less than 12 on the number line. Show how you know. 

Instructional Item 2 

Use a number line to show your thinking. Is 19 more than 17? Why or why not? 


Instructional Item 3 

What numbers are missing from the number line? 

*The strategies, tasks and items included in the B1G-M are examples and should not be considered comprehensive.

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
5012020: Grade Kindergarten Mathematics (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7712015: Access Mathematics - Grade Kindergarten (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
5012005: Foundational Skills in Mathematics K-2 (Specifically in versions: 2019 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
MA.K.NSO.2.AP.3: Locate and compare two numbers from 0 to 10 to determine which number is less than, equal to or greater than the other number.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Lesson Plans

She’s a Grand Old Flag:

Students will identify the American flag as an important symbol of the United States. They will collect and sort data from the American Flag and compare the attributes. Students will sort and count red stripes and white stripes, long stripes and short stripes, long red stripes and long white stripes, short red stripes and short white stripes. Students will compare the stripes using the number line. They will also count stars by 1’s and 10’s in this integrated lesson plan.

Type: Lesson Plan

Puzzling US Symbols:

Students will piece together a puzzle with numbered pieces (1-10 or 11-20) to reveal an image which they should recognize as a symbol that represents the United States (ie: American flag, bald eagle, U.S. Presidents George Washington or Abraham Lincoln) in this integrated lesson plan.

Type: Lesson Plan

Counting Colorful Cockatoos:

Poor Professor Dupont! He is missing his prized cockatoos! Help Professor Dupont find his special birds one by one as you turn the page. After helping Professor Dupont find his special cockatoos, create a classroom tree and sort the birds by color. You will have a fine feathered fantastic time counting and sorting!

Type: Lesson Plan

Fishy Lengths - Which fish is right for my aquarium?:

Students explore lengths of fish to determine if fish are too long to fit in different sized aquariums. Students will use non-standard units and measuring tools to compare the lengths of fish and boxes without being able to directly hold the fish near the boxes.

Type: Lesson Plan

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Equations on the Math Balance:

Unlock an effective teaching strategy for teaching inequalities and equations with the math balance in this Teacher Perspectives video for educators.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.