If you are reading this post, you have probably used a hundred chart or a 120 chart in your classroom. The patterns within the chart help students develop important place value relationships and promote early understandings of multi-digit addition and subtraction. Over the years, I’ve seen discussions on Twitter about the chart starting with one instead of zero, and I recently saw one that included a row of negative numbers at the top. But last week I wandered across an article written by Graham Fletcher and Jennifer BayWilliams about flipping the chart, in other words, a bottom-up chart. Apparently, the reasoning behind starting with one in the upper left-hand corner and building down to larger numbers is that we read from top to bottom and left to right. There is some thought that this top-to-bottom relationship confuses children when they are using the chart to add and subtract. Think about it. If you have an empty glass and you begin to fill it, the water line goes up. As we age, we grow taller from the ground up. Conversely, if you have a full box of cereal and eat some, the cereal in the box goes down.
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Personally, I like the idea of giving students different charts and having them discuss the merits of each. Then, let students use the chart that feels right to them. To that end, I’ve prepared a little freebie with four different charts: two bottom up, one top down, and one blank. You’ll also find some flipped hundred chart puzzles.
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