Thousand Chain

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Thousand Chain
Math - Linear Counting
Thousand Chain.JPG
Level Primary
Age 4.5 - 5
Prerequisites Hundred Chain
Materials Thousand Chain
10 hundred squares
1 thousand cube
pointer for counting
long mat (30' long)

This activity teaches the child skip counting which is preparation for multiplication. It also indirectly prepares the child to understand cubing numbers.


  1. Show the child how to carry the chain by looping a segment between the hundreds over each finger.
    Thousand Chain 1.JPG Thousand Chain 1-3.JPG
  2. Lay out the chain on a long mat as shown. Bring the thousand cube, the 10 hundred squares, the labels, and the counter.
    Thousand Chain 2.JPG
  3. Have one person hold one end of the chain in place while the other person holds the opposite end and stretches the chain down the length of the mat.
    Thousand Chain 3.JPG Thousand Chain 4.JPG
  4. Fold the bead bars as shown to form squares of 100.
    Thousand Chain 5.JPG Thousand Chain 6.JPG
  5. Set the hundred squares on top to show that they are the same.
    Thousand Chain 7.JPG Thousand Chain 7-2.JPG
  6. Stack the hundred squares next to the thousand cube to show that they are the same.
    Thousand Chain 8.JPG
  7. Stretch the chain back out again. Sort the labels into columns (1-10 together, 20-100 together, 110-200 together, etc.).
    Thousand Chain 9.JPG
  8. Count and place labels as you go.
    Thousand Chain 10.JPG
  9. Move the mat with the labels with you as you work.
    Thousand Chain 11.JPG
  10. 100, 200, 300, etc. get red labels. The 1000 label at the end is green. The colors correspond to the ones used on the decimal cards.
    Thousand Chain 12.JPG
  11. Walk the length of the completed chain and read the numbers on the labels.
    Thousand Chain 13.JPG Thousand Chain 13-2.JPG

Points of Interest

Control of Error

• Finding all labels • When he doesn´t find them all you can tell child that you are willing to do a new label but that before we need to make sure we do the correct label. • First count! • If you find that the label is there... • Oh I´m glad we found it before I do the new label, because doing a new label is a lot of work.

Variations and Extensions


Make Your Own

Where to Buy

Thousand Chain Mat
Alison's $33.00
Azoka Company $65.00
Bay Area Montessori $50.00
Cabdev $44.00
Montessori Services $66.95
Thinkamajigs $21.95
Best Montessori Toys $8 (Bead Thousand Cube)
merocomontessori $15.5 (100 yellow beads)

Further Reading