Step One: BooksI pretty much ALWAYS start with books, beautiful books! For this year's festivities, I selected these fun read-aloud titles:
100 Days of Cool by Stuart J. Murphy
The 100th Day of School by Angela Shelf Medearis
The Night Before the 100th Day of School by Natasha Wing
Step Two: Yummy Snacks + Meaningful Activity = A Fun Way to Learn
Step Three: Dress for the Occasion
Step Four: STEM Activities are Always a HitOne of the favorite activities all day was "Build a Structure with 100 Cubes."
If you don't have sugar cubes, you could use Unifix cubes, Snap Cubes, or other small cube manipulatives. I prefer the sugar cubes, even though they're a bit messy, because they're just nice straightforward cubes. They can be a tad expensive, but having students work in teams cuts the cost, as does buying the sugar cubes in the largest box available. (A 2-ound box of sugar cubes typically contains 252 cubes.)
This is a fun team-building (literally) project that challenges students to use most of the Mathematical Practices. The focus concept is to develop an understanding of area and its relationship with multiplication, but as I walked around the room, I noticed students employing other standards as well. Again, it's always so much fun to see all of the different strategies!
Before we start, I like to review arrays on the board, discussing a variety of arrangements and modeling how to sketch them as we chat. We also review how to represent an array as a multiplication equation.
I keep these rules up throughout the project for easy reference.
Then the real fun begins! First, students count out 100 sugar cubes.
Next, teams work together to plan their array on their base. I provide a paper plate as a base to help prevent "Sugar Cube Sprawl." It also makes cleanup that much easier!
Students next replicate the array they've built on their base by sketching it on their recording sheets. (Although students work together as teams, each student is responsible for project notes and observations on his/her own recording sheet.) Through recording specifics about their project, discussing their findings with their teammates, and noting their observations, students develop and deepen their understanding of the relationship between area and multiplication.
This activity is aligned with CCSS 3.MD.C.7.A Find the area of a rectangle with whole-number side lengths by tiling it, and show that the area is the same as would be found by multiplying the side lengths.
P.S. You can get the printables, teacher notes, and more from our 100th Day of School Celebration in this packet here. I've cut the price for the months of January and February!