How many is 100?

“100 Day” at Earl Shapiro Hall is so important to the kids that only Halloween gives it a run for its money as a Lab tradition

100 Day (yes, the 100th day in school) is the culmination of mathematical conversations during which Lab’s youngest students are learning to understand the very concept of what 100 means. It arrives with the excitement and anticipation a major holiday-like event deserves.

As part of 100 Day, special classes have their own special activities. In PE, for example, the children did “100s of things,” think sit-ups or jumping jacks.

In homeroom classes, the work moves from thought to celebration. The nursery children in AJ Jennings class had questions about big numbers. How many is 10? How many is 20? 

“Young children can’t yet conceptualize large numbers, but know they are important and interesting. That’s why you often hear young kids say, ‘I am 794 years old!’ or ‘There are 924 candies in my pocket,’” says Jennings. 

The students wondered if their classroom could fit 100 kids. So they invited other classes to come see if they could all fit. 

Says Jennings, “At this age, children are learning one-to-one correspondence—1 number = 1 thing. So to understand 100, they needed to see 100 people. They counted off by tens and were delighted to discover that 100 people could, indeed, fit inside their classroom.”

Similarly, across Earl Shapiro Hall, children were gathering collections of all sorts of items—as long as the collection totaled 100. There were collections of beads, pennies, even 100 uneaten Halloween candies!

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