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A hundreds chart? If you're wondering why, for good gracious, you'd use one of these to teach counting, or even multiplication, you definitely won't by the end of this post.

If you're like us, you probably spend time in the car counting over and over again to 100. After having gone down this road (and many many miles of it with four girls now), I'm starting to believe it's like staying in only one lane of the highway on a road trip to Puerto Williams, Chile (which, for reference is the southern-most city in the world, and I'm not sure you could even get there by car even if the math worked out somehow.)

So what's wrong with counting, you ask?

When the kids learn to count orally, they're often just learning a pattern of words, almost like a song. Oral counting is great, as long as there's a mental model of number sense to back it up.

That's where these awesome hundreds charts come in.

A hundred chart provides a visual representation of both quantity, and of the relationships between the numbers in the rows and columns of the chart. You'd be amazing how many kiddos can recite the numbers from one to a hundred in order, but when they're confronted with reading a number off a page have trouble. We struggled here with the difference between 41 and 14 more times than I care to admit.

So print off these hundred charts, then start with some activities that build real number sense. Here's a list of things to try:

- Play the 'Guess My Number' game on the hundreds chart._That simple higher/lower game is great practice for reasoning about which numbers are bigger or smaller, and marking previous guesses on the hundreds chart will give younger kids the support they need. Make it competitive by seeing who can guess a number in the smallest number of turns (for adults who need a little extra edge, read up on binary search algorithms.)
- Roll the chart up into a tube and count around and around and around..._Nothing makes it clear that the numbers go in a continuous sequence like rolling a hundreds chart up and counting around the bend.
- Cut the hundreds chart up, then put it back together again._We have an unending fascination with tape here, so this is always a winner. Print out one of the hundreds charts, cut it up randomly then tell the kid to put it back together again with tape. Bonus points if you time them. A good starter is to do this with one of the color hundreds charts which provides some color-cues to help make the assembly go faster, but you should move on to the black and white charts once the concept is clear.
- Color in a hidden picture puzzle on the 100s chart._There are a ton of these online, but obviously the best hidden picture puzzles are right here at DadsWorksheets!
- You can use a hundreds number chart to determine the difference between two numbers._This is a great activity for conceptualizing addition and subtraction. You can use a hundreds chart as a resource when practicing addition facts or subtraction facts as a substitute for finger counting (especially handy when you're out of fingers.)
- Play race to one hundred on the chart._You'll need a game piece (or two if you've got more than one kiddo on hand) and a die. Start with both players on number 1, and have each player roll the die then move their piece that many numbers forward on the chart. The first one to get to 100 wins. Try having them only roll a number at the end that lands exactly on 100 to win.
- You can do skip counting easily on the hundreds chart._ A great activity is to print a hundreds chart and color in odds, evens or multiples of 5. Or, color multiple patterns and see where they overlap, a great start on understanding factors of numbers. Skip counting provides an opportunity to begin understanding the properties of certain sequences of numbers (for example, that adding two to an even number always produces an even number, or that multiples of 5 always end in 5 or 0). Even more so than using a multiplication chart to memorize multiplication facts, skip counting also helps kids build the number sense necessary for multiplication.
- _Find prime numbers using the Sieve of Eratosthenes_Once you have a student who understands multiplication, division and the idea of prime numbers, you can use a hundreds chart to perform the Sieve of Eratosthenes, which is really simply way to not only introduce primes, but to discover one way that they can be revealed.

Any of these activities work well with the 100 chart or with the 120s charts available at the link as well... You'll notice sometimes when kids learn what follows 100, it can be a challenge. That's why some of the Common Core activities work with 120 instead of 100... It's just a large enough range to get you well into that third place value, and it also fits nicely into some of those times twelve tables that you'll undoubtably come across soon as well.

Whether you're building up number sense or just using these number charts as a way to learn your math facts, I hope these new charts help move your math lessons on down the highway just a bit faster... Do you have some other great hundreds chart games or activities? Leave a comment and let me know!