Counting Collections: 100 Objects

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SWBAT use efficient counting strategies to count out 100 objects.

Big Idea

Students work to count to 100 in this rigorous counting activity. Students create a shape out of their 100 objects for a creative twist.

Objective and Hook

10 minutes


I am starting with a quick shared reading for this lesson. Common Core pushes literacy throughout the curriculum, and this story gets students invested in the day's work!

"To help us get ready to do our counting today, I want to make sure our brains are turned on to say and write these big numbers! We are going to read I Count 100 Things. In this nonfiction text, someone counted out 100 of each item and then made something out of it! We are going to do something similar today. We are going to be counting out groups of 100. "

I'll read I Can Count 100 Things aloud and have students echo read on each page. As I read, I will track the words so students are attending to the words in this Level D (Fountas and Pinnell) story. After reading it through 1 time, we will chorally it again to focus on fluency and intonation.

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We are going to be using big numbers in our story problems one day so we need to get really good at counting them in order. This will help us have a number line in our brains that we can use anywhere we go!

Objective :

Your thinking job today is: What strategies can I use to count 100 objects?


Opening Discussion

15 minutes

The focus of this and the next section is for students to eventually use group counting to help them organize. The most efficient strategy is to group by 10s and count by 10s, but students may also group by 5s or even make rows of 10 but count them by 1s. 

We will start by connecting our counting to the counting the child did in the story: "Just like in our story, we are going to be taking different objects and counting them out into groups of 100."

To start, I'll show that I am aware of the counting challenge by saying, "I see so many little objects that I am getting nervous about how I will keep track o each object and make sure I counted it. Last time we counted objects, some people moved one over at a time. That is definitely one strategy, but I want us to think of other, faster and more efficient ways to do our counting."

I will make a big pile of cubes in the center of my carpet, and intentionally keep them in the pile while trying to count them.

Partner Talk: What is wrong with my counting strategy?

Students should notice immediately that the teacher is not keeping track well. “All the cubes are mixed up”. “You can’t see all of the cubes because they are in a big pile” etc.

Guiding Questions:

  • How could I keep these organized so I could count them to 100?
  • Was that easier to count? Why or why not?
  • Is there another way I could have kept track?

I'll present the student problem: 

I am making groups of 50 candies but I am having a hard time keeping track. Show how to count out my 50 candies with your objects. 

Partner talk to plan: How will you keep track of your objects? What counting strategy are you going to try?

Student Work Time and Strategy Share

20 minutes

As students are working, I'll be using this time to float and observe for different strategies and push kids in their thinking. I will group the kids together who I think will exhibit similar strategies so I can ask smaller groups some of the push questions.

(See attached strategy document for push questions and differentiated groups!)


After observing students at work, we will come back together as a class to share our strategies.

During the strategy share, I'll shares a grouping strategy and models how to represent it on paper (ex-draws the rows of 10; draws groups of 10s; etc)

Guiding Questions:

  • How did they count the cubes?
  • How did they keep the cubes organized?
  • Which counting strategy was a little faster?
  • How could we show what they did on our paper to help us remember to try it later?

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Directions: Students count out a quantity of objects and record how they counted. 

See attached video for ideas on keeping kids engaged in this activity!

Group A (In need of intervention): These students may count a bag of 50 or less if they need more practice on 1-1.

Group B (Right on track): These students will count out 100 cubes and represent how they did so on paper. My goal for them is to try making groups to count.

Group C (Extension): These students will count out 120 cubes and represent how they did it.


12 minutes

Today’s thinking job was: What strategies can we use to count out 100 objects?

I'll highlight a few students' strategies for counting.

Then we will reread I Can Count 100 Things as a class. I'll give students 5-7 minutes to create a design with their 100 objects. We will take pictures of the class designs and post them in a counting center for students to look at later.

Students made some neat designs. See below for a list of things they made!

  • Flower out of colorful tiles
  • Towers out of fuzzy puff balls-who knew they stacked so well?!
  • Cities out of cubes
  • And so much more!