DIY Hundred Bead Measure

Use old beads to make a useful math manipulative! Students can use the hundred bead measure to add, subtract or count using groups of ten.

Items to Gather:

  • string or thin rope
  • large beads in two different colors or shades (The beads used to make the hundred bead measure shown in this post were from an old beaded car seat cover similar to the one shown below.)


1.  Gather a piece of string or rope.

2.  Thread the beads onto the rope in groups of ten. Altogether, you will have ten groups of ten beads. The groups of ten should alternate colors. For example, the first group of ten is dark brown, the second group of ten is light brown, the third group of ten is dark brown, etc.

3.  Hang the hundred bead measure in a prominent space in the classroom. Students should be encouraged to use it as a manipulative when working on activities involving number.

Other Tips/Suggestions:

Refer to the hundred bead measure to make addition, subtraction or counting a visual and kinesthetic activity. For example, when adding 12+5, have students take 12 beads (one group of ten plus two more). Then take five others and add them to the group. Now, to find the sum, students can either count one group of ten plus seven more, or they can count two groups of ten minus three beads to make 17.

Hope you enjoy!
Teaching in the Early Years
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