You may also like

Consecutive Numbers

An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.

Roll These Dice

Roll two red dice and a green dice. Add the two numbers on the red dice and take away the number on the green. What are all the different possible answers?

Domino Square

Use the 'double-3 down' dominoes to make a square so that each side has eight dots.

Coded Hundred Square

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Coded Hundred Square

This hundred square is written in code.

It starts with one and ends with a hundred.

Can you build it up? How did you do it?
Can you build it up in a different way?
Talk to a friend who has also tried building up the hundred square.  How did s/he do it?  What do you like about her/his method?

You can use the interactivity below or print and cut out the pieces from these sheets.


Why do this problem?

At the outset this problem appears an easily understood task. It encourages children to think about the construction of the familiar hundred square and about the first hundred numbers in our counting system. However, children may need to work on their resilience and perseverance skills as they will soon discover it is not quite as easy as it first appears!

As they test out their ideas and become even more curious about the construction of this coded hundred square, encourage learners to offer conjectures, and to explain and justify their ideas.

Possible approach

You could introduce this problem first by asking the group to picture a hundred square in their mind's eye. Challenge them to answer questions orally such as:
  • What is immediately below $10$? [$20$]
  • What is two squares to the left of $99$? [$97$]
  • I start on $34$ and move three rows down and three places to the right. What do I land on? [$67$]
Each time, invite children to explain how they came to a solution. You may like to ask some learners to post their own challenge for the rest of the group. It may be that some children will want to refer to a paper copy of a hundred square to check their responses, but don't actively encourage this!

You can then present the problem itself, ideally on the interactive whiteboard, and ask pupils to work in pairs so that they are able to talk through their ideas with a partner. They could either use the interactivity on a computer or cut out the pieces from these two printed sheets.

At the end the group could discuss how they discovered the clues needed to put the whole together and what they learnt about the construction of a hundred square. It is interesting to see the number of different ways adopted - each one just as valid as the others. The important point is being able to justify why one piece goes in a particular place. You may decide to highlight the value of talking with someone else while working on this task. How did it help them?

Key questions

Where could we start?
What might the first numbers look like?
What might the last number look like?
What do you know about the multiples of $11$?
What will be the same in each column?
What will be the same for the first nine numbers in each row?
What could you do if you are stuck?

Possible extension

Learners could either try Alien Counting which introduces different bases or Which Scripts? which looks at numbers in different languages.

Possible support

Some children may benefit from having an ordinary hundred square to refer to as they work on this problem. It might help to try this Hundred Square Jigsaw first, but be aware that this one goes from zero to ninety-nine, not one to a hundred.