So Much More than Counting to 100!


If you are the parent of a Spark you have had the opportunity to see the work your child is doing by looking over their weekly tracker. You may have noticed that they have practiced and maybe even written the 100 Board (this work is done by placing numbered tiles in rows of ten).

 “Wow, it is nice to know they can count to 100 while recognizing the numbers as they count!” 

This is the first thought that comes to mind when seeing this accomplishment, but it never fails that every year I am reminded of the beautiful complexities that present themselves in the formation of the mathematical mind.

“Ms. Monique! Ms. Monique! Let me show you what I’ve found!”  The excitement behind these spoken words directed my attention to the math area of our studio where this person had been taking some time to admire his accomplishment of completing the 100 Board. I was sure the excitement was going to be about an object that was out of place or another miniature paper airplane that made a landing close by. Instead I was directed to the completed 100 Board in front of him as he proceeded to point and say “1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1 - 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2 - 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3 etc. bringing his finger from top to bottom column by column.  He discovered the pattern the units create.  He then pointed to the very last column explaining that if you go straight down that column you end up counting by 10’s!  “... and look ten is 1 and a 0, twenty is 2 and a 0 ... 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 but look one hundred is 10 and a zero!” 

Pattern recognition is at the heart of the 100 Board and math in general. The Board will be left in the studio for the remainder of the year and your learners will be encouraged to do it multiple times. How many ways can we look at the board? How many patterns can we find?


Hi, I'm Sarah Cheek.

Co-founder and Head of School at Acton Academy Seacoast

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