As a teacher with over 20 years of experience, I am still in awe of all the different ways to use a hundred chart. It touches on so many math learning standards.
Let’s begin with how we introduce a hundred chart to students. Then, check out the long list of ways to teach other number sense math concepts with it.
What is a Hundred Chart?
A hundred chart is a table of numbers, usually with 10 rows and 10 columns. The typical hundred chart is 1-100, but other charts may include 1-120, 0-99, or may extend to 1000. Here is an example of the layout of a hundred chart seen for the first time by a kindergarten student.
Here’s a typical hundred chart layout.
Introduction to the Hundred Chart
How we use a hundred chart starts with a visual introduction to its composition. This is critical for a more effective and deeper understanding of numbers in your follow-up lessons.
- During your first look at the hundred chart, notice that the grid has 10 rows and 10 columns.
- Point out to students that for each square of the grid we will distinguish between each of the numbers between 1 and 100.
- The number “1” will be in the top left corner numbers in sequence going from left to right, starting at the top of the grid.
- The number “100” will be the last number in the hundred chart in the bottom right corner of the grid.
- Allow students to ask and answer their own questions about the hundred chart.
- Next, create a KWL chart as to what students know, want to know, and what they have learned about a hundred chart.
- Extension activity: Have students color their own hundred chart in whatever pattern they choose. Some students may color each row a different color. Other students may decide to color every column a contrasting color. This opens the door to many of the math learning standards you could teach next.
Now, we are just getting started! After the introduction, we have unbelievable possibilities for using the hundred chart to teach math learning standards in the primary and elementary classrooms.
Counting and Cardinality
Counting and cardinality is a kindergarten learning standard, and the hundred chart may be a tool to teach these concepts. Simply put, counting is the act of actually counting, and cardinality is the whole number in a set.
Counting can be as simple as starting from 1 and saying the next number in sequential order (“1, 2, 3, 4, 5”). Cardinality is knowing that after counting a set, you know that it is called by the last number counted in that set (“There are 5 in all”).
Counting starting at any number is the next challenge. Students would need to remember the sequential counting order and add one more (42, 43, 44, 45…).
Skip counting by 10s. The importance of zero is learned when counting by tens (10, 20, 30…).
Skip counting by 5s is the prerequisite for understanding place value and the relation of five to then number ten (5, 10, 15, 20, 25…). It also lends itself to telling time on the clock.
Giving students a blank hundred chart will give them the practice to write numbers in sequential order. Encourage students to use a piece of paper to cover up the horizontal rows below to help them focus. Looking at a sea of boxes can be daunting for them.
Skip counting off the decade (5, 15, 25, 35, 45) down each column extends into the learning standards of addition. Follow up with guiding students to count backward, as this helps with subtraction (97, 87, 77, 67…).
Addition and Subtraction on a Hundred Chart
Addition and subtraction are easily taught on a hundred chart. Students need to count the “hump jumps” between numbers. This is how you counting correctly on a number line.
What are “hump jumps”? These are what we count as we jump from one number to another to find the difference. Teaching students to count the “hump jumps” while adding or subtracting on any number line helps them to count accurately.
Counting on the hundred chart shows students what number is next when we skip count by 1s, 2s, 3s, etc.
Let’s move on to adding and subtracting. Ask a student to find a number and then ask them to add 1 more or 2 more. Now, ask what is 1 less or 2 less.
Students can then work on 10 more and 10 less. First, they will want to tap each number to count to ten. Lead them to understand that on a hundred chart we can move up or down a row to add or subtract a ten with ease.
Determine a Missing Number
Number sense gets a huge boost when working with hundred charts. It isn’t what is there, but what isn’t there that opens up critical thinking skills.
Take a standard hundred chart and cover up or delete some of the numbers. Students then need to look around within the specific tens and ones to find what belongs.
Recognizing that columns are lead by the ones digit and the rows are dominated by the tens digits is the key. When students understand this concept, they can easily find the missing number.
Students may then be up for the challenge of finding the missing number in skip counting by 2s, 3s, 5s, etc. They can then finish any hundreds chart in sequential order.
Comparing numbers involves learning whether a number is greater than, less than, or equal to another.
Students may have trouble with the misconception that numbers with the same two digits are the same.
For example, looking at 12 and 21 on a hundred chart quickly proves that just because they have the same two digits, that doesn’t mean they are the same amount.
Students will notice that the digit in the largest place value is the greatest value when comparing numbers. If the tens digits are the same, they’ll need to move to the ones digits to compare.
Using a hundred chart to compare numbers helps move students from using concrete math manipulatives to visualizing a numbers true place value.
Place Value on a Hundred Chart
Overall, the hundreds chart helps students to recognize the placement of numbers in their sequential order.
The numbers with the same tens are in the same row. The numbers with the same number in the ones place are in the same column. The pattern is easy to see on a hundred chart.
Use the hundred chart to play a game to find a number using expanded form as the clue. Tell students to find the number that is 100+10+5. They should find 115.
Or have students find the number on the hundred chart that has 5 tens and 0 ones. The answer is 50!
Take a hundred chart and cut it into puzzle pieces. Students will need to look closely to accurately piece the chart back together, linking the tens and ones together perfectly.
Upper Elementary and the Hundred Chart
Grades beyond K-2 can also use the hundred chart for learning math standards. It’s not just for kindergarten, first grade and second grade classrooms.
Some math concepts taught with the use of a hundred chart in the upper grades are the following:
- equivalent fractions
- rounding up or down
- prime and composite numbers
- complex number patterns
- place value into the hundreds and thousands
- decimals number chart (0.01-1.00)
As for the primary grades, the hundred chart is one of the most important math tools.
Whether a digital hundred chart or printed on paper, it can be used to teach many different math concepts under the number sense umbrella.
Choose any of the ideas above to add to your teaching or to use for intervention.
If you like any of the activities, but don’t have the time to make your own digital or printable resources, check out the hundred chart activities in my store by clicking here.