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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Make a 1000

Adapted from NZ Maths unit Make a 1000

Adaptions for ESOL students: Christine Jones


Year: 3-6

Level: 2

Duration: 1 week

Achievement objectives

Number, level 2:

  • Explain the meaning of the digits in 2- or 3-digit whole numbers.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • develop an understanding of 1000 and the quantity for which it stands
  • understand the relationship between 1000, 100 and 10.

Language learning focus

Focus on building vocabulary and mathematical literacy

Students will:

  • learn key vocabulary
  • develop the mathematical language to talk and write about collecting, grouping, displaying, comparing and recording through teacher and student led discussion and activity.

How to achieve the language outcomes:

  • focus on key words and be aware of other vocabulary (such as the names of objects and containers suggested for collection) that may be new to students
  • model the correct mathematical language for each stage
  • check that individual students are using the correct mathematical language and provide enough practice for students to become confident with language.

Teacher background reading

Description of the Mathematics explored in the unit

One of the key achievement aims of the mathematics curriculum is to “develop an understanding of numbers, the ways they are represented and the quantities for which they stand” (MiNZC, p 9). This unit explores the number 1000, what it looks like and the ways that it can be represented.

As part of the work in this unit, the children will get to appreciate the size of 1000. It will take them some time to collect and display 1000 objects. In the process they will realise that 1000 is a reasonably large number. The size aspect of number is an important one. We need to have a ‘feel’ for how big numbers are so that we can appreciate everyday things such as how far it is to another town, how heavy things are or how much they cost.

In an effort to display their 1000 objects so that they are readily counted, the children will be encouraged to bundle the objects into groups of 10 and 100. This will help them see the relevance of the decimal counting system and the relationship between the numbers 10, 100 and 1000. A knowledge of the decimal system is fundamental to working with number, especially where the four operations of arithmetic are concerned. The advantage of this system over previous ones, such as that used by the Romans, is its efficiency in counting and calculating. This is all due to the fact that the system is based on the powers of ten – 101 = 10, 102 = 100, 103 = 1000, etc.


  • multilink or unifix cubes
  • stamps and ink pads
  • chart paper
  • possible items for collection (rice, beans, leaves, pebbles)

Teaching and learning sequence

Getting started

Begin unit by making guesses about the number of beans in jars. Then work in pairs to decide how to make a collection of 1000 items.

Learning task 1

Learning task 2

Learning task 3


Dear Family,

At school this week we have worked with a partner to make a collection of one thousand objects. We have explored ways of displaying our objects so that we can tell that we have a 1000 without having to count every one. You are very welcome to come to our classroom to look at our 1000 collections.

At home this week we want your child to find a collection of 1000 letters of the alphabet from a page of the newspaper. Encourage your child to explain how they are grouping the letters so that they keep track of their counting.

Figure It Out links

Some links from the Figure It Out series which you may find useful are:

  • Link, Number, Book One, Jungle Land, p. 7.
  • Link, Number Sense, Book One, Aiming High, p. 4.
  • Link, Number Sense, Book One, Writing 1000, p. 14.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018