Here’s a sort-of crafty project I worked on over the summer for school: Stretchy Hundreds! (Well, at least that’s what I’m calling them…)

Basically, it’s 100 plastic beads on a long string of elastic, with each group of ten beads a different colour. I’m making one for each child in my class (that’s 2000 beads – What am I thinking?) to use in math. I saw them at a workshop in July, where they suggested using them to practice counting, skip counting, addition, subtracting, and all kinds of math. Manipulatives (things students can touch, hold and move to physically represent math) are a big deal in math, but the great thing about these strings is that they stay neat and tidy, and there’s less chance of kids taking forever to set the out neatly! (On the other hand, just thing what 7 year olds can do with a long string of elastic! :P)

How does it work? Say the question is 7+4: Slide 7 beads along, then slide 4 more… you’ll have 10 beads of one colour and one bead of another, which makes it really easy to see that there are 11 beads! The elastic holds the beads in place, to it’s easy to push the beads along but they don’t just slide freely. Each string is identical, so that we should all end up on the same colour bead if we’ve done the question right.

The hardest part? Not arranging the beads in rainbow order. I wanted a lot of colour contrast between each grouping… but oh, they’d be so much prettier in a ROYGBP spectrum!

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