Fun Facts About the Number 100

Centennial Guest Blog                                                                                                                         Dr. Sandi Cooper, Dr. Trena Wilkerson and Dr. Rachelle Rogers

Mathematics educators see mathematics in everything they do and everywhere they go! This may seem strange, but if you look for it, you can have your own “mathematical encounters” in most everything you do! As we celebrate 100 years of the School of Education, we pause to think about the number 100, and would like to share some fun facts.

There are some well-known facts about 100:

  • There are 100 years in a century.
  • On the Celsius scale, 100 degrees is the boiling temperature of water.
  • The United States Senate has 100 Senators.
  • There are 100 yards in an American football field.
  • 100 is a perfect square number and its square root is 10.
  • 100 is the basis of percentages ("per cent" meaning "per hundred" in Latin), with 100 percent being a full amount.
  • There are 100 pennies in one dollar.

Did you know these facts about 100?

  • "C" is the Roman numeral for 100. "C" comes from the word Latin word centrum.
  • A person who lives to be 100 is called a centenarian.
  • The sum of the first nine (9) prime numbers is 100.
  • The sum of the first 10 odd numbers equals 100.
  • There are 100 letter tiles in a Scrabble game.
  • The record number of points scored in one NBA game by a single player was 100 points, set by Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962.
  • If you had $100 billion dollars, you could spend $3 million dollars a day, every day, for the next 100 years.
  • There are 100 sweat glands in one (1) square inch of skin.
  • 100 pennies weigh 250 grams, which is a little over half a pound.
  • A Googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes!
  • Elementary teachers across the nation organize a momentous event on the 100th day of school. Why is this important? It’s a huge step in learning about place value for this age group of students. Students will engage in projects to make something out of 100 objects or build some representation of 100, and teachers will dress up like they are 100 years old!

What are some fun facts about 100 that you know?

Certainly, when you think about mathematics, you think about numbers. When you think about learning mathematics, you might have great thoughts of the quest to tackle problems that unlock applicable solutions. Or, you might have had experiences that were not so positive, leading to some level of mathematics anxiety. Over the years, mathematics educators have worked to find the most effective ways to help everyone experience their own potential in the mathematics learning that best fits their needs.

What was happening in classrooms 100 years ago to help students learn mathematics? How has it changed over these years? During the 1920s, psychologist Edward L. Thorndike shared research findings that challenged the justification for teaching mathematics as a form of mental discipline and contributed to the view that any mathematics education should be for purely utilitarian purposes. Thorndike stressed repeated practice and championed a stimulus-response method of learning. Some educators refer to this as “drill and kill” with rote learning, focused on procedural methods, and purely memorization of facts with no connections. With the impetus to make a difference in mathematics education at this time, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) was founded in 1920, stating that curriculum studies and reforms come from the teachers of mathematics rather than from the educational reformers. Through the years, NCTM has been a significant leader in mathematics education and has become the world's largest mathematics education organization throughout the U.S. and Canada, with more than 30,000 members.

The Space Race

It was not until the 1950s that mathematics learning changed much in American classrooms. A significant historical event occurred that prompted the nation’s leaders to mandate that mathematics learning be reorganized to better prepare students in science and engineering. In 1957, the U.S.S.R launched Sputnik, the first space satellite, and U.S. leaders viewed Sputnik as a major humiliation, calling attention to the low quality of math and science instruction in the public schools. The ensuing “space race” garnered significant momentum, and thus “New Math” was implemented nationwide in K-12 classrooms. This resulted in the development of a number of textbooks for all grade levels, and curriculum that emphasized mathematical structure, the real number system, careful use of language and deductive proofs, discovery, experimentation, and scientific applications. There was more of a problem-solving approach to learning mathematics, which has been found to be a more effective way to learn mathematics, but it was a “huge shock” to most teachers and parents in this time frame.

New Math

Do you remember “New Math”? You might have experienced this as a student or even a parent, but it did not last long. There was an enormous outcry from parents because they had not learned mathematics this way and could not see the value of learning it this way, nor could they help their children with homework. By the 1970s, there was a “back to the basics” movement and a shift back to more procedural learning, rote memorization, and an element of “drill and kill.” However, the NCTM would not sit silently and allow this to continue. Beginning in the 1980s, NCTM organized groups of leading mathematics educators to develop and publish national standards for curriculum and evaluation, establishing a movement that would continue to evolve into the mathematics learning in classrooms today. NCTM states that mathematics learning should focus on the development of numerical, algebraic, geometric, and statistical concepts and skills that enable all students to formulate, analyze, and solve problems proficiently. These efforts have supported American scientists and engineers to lead the way in advancing technological innovations, making significant impacts in our society today.

Celebrating Centennials

The School of Education is celebrating 100 years during 2019. As we approach the year 2020, the largest mathematics teacher organization, the NCTM will also celebrate 100 years. During NCTM’s Centennial event, our very own SOE faculty member, Dr. Trena Wilkerson, will be inaugurated at President of this prestigious organization. A “mathematical encounter” for us? Well, certainly an example of how faculty in the Mathematics education program continue to lead the way in the national landscape of Education. Happy 100!

Left to right: Doctor Trena Wilkerson, Dr. Rachelle Rogers and Dr. Sandi Cooper are serious about math education, but they aren't above having a little fun, too!