Recently I became a member of the National Council of Teachers of Math (NCTM https://www.nctm.org/). A highlight of membership is that I have access to the journal Teaching Children Mathematics, which is filled with research-based articles outlining interesting and developmentally appropriate practice for the early years. In the December 2017 (24, 3) issue there is a fascinating article by Jennifer M. Bay-Williams and Graham Fletcher called A Bottom-Up Hundred Chart? In this piece the authors challenge educators to consider the potential for enriching children's learning if the popular math tool is flipped upside down.
Bay-Williams and Fletcher share that a flipped hundred chart makes sense because when children use the chart to solve equations, the language they use to describe direction on the chart matches their understanding of the operation - if adding the number appears to get taller, bigger and greater as physically modeled when children track the addition sentence by moving up on the chart and if subtracting the number appears to shrink, moving downwards and getting smaller by descending the chart (e.g., if a child is solving 13 + 12 s/he would first point to the thirteen, move upward one space and then to the right two). The authors also suggest a number of different activities for exploring the chart including cutting one into a 'number puzzle', encouraging children to find mystery numbers, and assigning children a number and challenging them to find all the number's 'neighbours'. These activities are great ways for children to physically and mentally manipulate the chart, helping them to become more comfortable working with the numbers.
After reflecting upon our math program I have created five additional activities that I believe will continue to challenge children and encourage them to strengthen their understanding and confidence working with the numbers 1 - 100.
Guess my number!
Display a flipped hundred chart and mentally think of a number that the children will have to guess. Give children one clue at a time to help guide them to your number (e.g., my number is less than 50, my number doesn't have a 6 in it, my number is odd). The children can consider the clues and cross out the numbers that don't follow the clues. With additional clues more numbers will be crossed off the chart until children guess the correct one. Reverse roles and invite the children to think of a number and give the clues to you!
Our children love to manipulate pentominoes - using them to fill frames and trays and solving intricate puzzles. Children can also be encouraged to use them as tracers, matching them to the chart and outlining the numbers contained within. Once a collection of numbers has been traced, encourage children to find something that all numbers have in common (e.g., they each have a 4 in them; they are all greater than 36). Tip - ensure your flipped hundred chart is printed to the same size as your pentomino set to ensure an accurate match.
Dry Erase Number Write
Our children love to write with dry erase markers. Create a variety of 'missing number' flipped charts, laminate, and invite the children to practise filling in the missing numbers.