Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Math Homework 101: The Hundred Chart

Pull up a chair. It's time for another addition of Math Homework 101. Today, we're talking about the hundred chart. What is its purpose? And, why on earth is my kid using it so much in class?!

If your child is in the early elementary years (kindergarten, 1st, 2nd), chances are you've seen the hundred chart. Hopefully your child's awesome teacher has already sent one home. My daughter has one that stays in her homework binder. If you don't have one, I've got a couple of versions at the end of this post you can download and print. 

Let's get down to it! 

So, what is the point of the hundred chart? One way you can think about it, is that it's a bulkier version of the number line. It can help your kids learn number sequencing in the higher numbers. They can use it for addition and subtraction help. What's 34 +4? Start at 34 and count 4 spaces to get the answer. What's 57-9? Start at 57 and count backward. In this way, it works exactly the way a number line does.

But, that's not all a hundred chart is useful for. You can use it to see patterns in the numbers. See the highlighted column above. If you find all the numbers that end in a five, you'll see that they're in a straight line. Same with the 6's, 3's, etc. It's a great visual tool for any kid that needs to see something to understand it. 

The patterns can also be used to help with skip counting. Suddenly, skip counting becomes more than just memorization. Your child can see the numbers they skip over. They can see the pattern. I've seen kids who struggle with skip counting master it after using the hundred chart for awhile. (And by master it, I mean they are able to skip count without using the the hundred chart for help.)

What else can they learn about numbers with the hundred chart? Take a look at the highlighted squares above. The number in the middle is 55. When you isolate that cross, you can see at a glance what the +1, -1, +10, and -10 facts are. Four sets of math facts at once. That's powerful.

What else can you learn at a glance? 
  • Highlight the columns in two alternating colors. Now you can see even and odd numbers. 
  • Use it to help count coins. Place dimes on the 10's column or nickles on the 5's and 10's. They'll see how counting money relates to skip counting at a quick glance. 
  • Cover up a number and see how quickly your child can figure out the hidden number. They'll use the surrounding numbers as clues. 
  • Hundred charts can be used even beyond the lower grades. Check out this post to see ways to use it in the upper elementary years. It can even help with multiplication!

Embrace the hundred chart! It's a valuable tool to help your child understand math.

I plan on sharing other fun ways to use a hundred chart in future posts, so stay tuned. In the meantime, please click below to download and print your own hundred chart. I've included 2 versions. They first is from 1-100 and the other is from 1-120. Many schools (and Common Core standards) are expecting kids to count beyond 100 to 120. Use the chart that best fits your child's needs.

Now that you have your own hundred chart and have learned all about it, it's time to do some fun activities. Try one of these fun ideas:

Hundred Chart Fill-in-the-Blank Puzzles - Can your child figure out the missing numbers by their location on a hundred chart?
Driveway Hundred Chart - Make a giant hundred chart on the driveway and play some fun games.
Ways to Play & Learn with a Hundred Chart - A round-up of fun hundred chart ideas from some of the best kid activities blogs. 

Do you have any questions about the hundred chart? Ask your questions in the comment section and I'll answer!

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