What Time Is It?

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SWBAT identify the two hands of the clock and explain what each one does. They will be able to count by 5s to 60.

Big Idea

The Common Core doesn't include time as a strand, but the ability to use time to reason about the passage of time, and the ability to use a single number on the clock to represent two different quantities are part of the mathematical practices.

Getting Started

10 minutes

Today I have students begin by practicing counting by 5s. I have all of the children stand up and then I point to the children to each say a number counting by 5s. I do not always start at 5. When students use the structure of counting by 5s (MP7), in other contexts this year, they will not always be  starting at 5. They may want to count nickels starting with 45 cents so by starting at different numbers, I am preparing students for later work.  I note which children need support in calling out the numbers, especially going to a new group of 10s (55 to 60).  

I practice some single counting starting from numbers above 50 and also some counting back to provide review with counting back. 

To provide additional movement opportunities during the counting I have children sit until they call out a target number (such as a number with a 3 in it). Those children get to stand until the next target number round. We see who is the last child sitting.

This lesson allows me to informally assess a student's understanding of counting by 5s.

After about 10 minutes of practice I tell the children that if they call out a number with a 0 in it they are to walk to their seats on the rug. Once everyone is on the rug, I begin the next section of the lesson.

A 3D Clock

15 minutes

I am fortunate to have a round rug in my room. If you have a square rug, arrange the students in a circle before beginning. 

In this part of the lesson I want students to differentiate between the big and small hands on the clock. I want them to look at the structure of the clock and how the different hands help us to tell the time (MP7). 

I place the numbers from 1 - 12 on the floor in the shape of a clock. I ask students what I have built and most recognize the clock face. I then bring out 2 paper hands. One is large and the other is small. I also color code them red and blue to match the hands on student practice clocks that I have. 

I ask students if they know which hand travels faster on the clock, the small or the large. I take several answers and then ask which moves faster, a tiger or a kitten? We talk about how bigger things move faster most of the time, than smaller things. That is true of clock hands too. The big hand goes all around the clock while the little hand only moves from one number to the next in that time.

Next I pick one student to be the little hand. They move the hand to the hour we mention, leaving the big hand on the 12.  Next I say that for a few minutes we will forget the hour hand and talk about the minute hand. I ask how long a minute is in seconds. Students may have several guesses but if no one knows, I say that we will count and I walk around the clock taking 1 step for each second. We then find out that there are 60 seconds in a minute. Now I ask if anyone knows how many minutes in each hour? Again I wait for responses and if no one knows I tell them I will take 1 step for each minute making sure to note that I am on a number at 5, 10, 15... 

We discuss how there are 60 minutes for the big hand to travel all around the clock and we often count time to the nearest 5 minutes. Next I ask a student to be the minute hand and start at 12 and move to 15 minutes by counting by 5s. What number does he end up at? 3. That three stands for the hour of 3 but if we are talking about minutes it has a new name. Can anyone tell what that will be? 15. 

I repeat this, being aware of my student's ability to sit on the rug. Better to end the lesson sooner than to allow the activity to fall apart. Some groups may be able to go on for a longer period of time than others.

I leave myself about 5 minutes of attention span to bring the hour hand back in and to move it while a student moves the minute hand. I ask students what they notice? Why am I going so slowly? Do I stay in one place for the whole hour and then jump? We discuss how the hour hand can only move to the next number very slowly while the minute hand runs all the way around the clock.

I give students a quick stretch and talk break before having them practice time.


20 minutes

Now I want students to practice what they have learned. I use both small classroom practice clocks and written pages. I divide the students into 2 groups. While one group works independently on a practice page, I work with the other group.

I have them find the hour and minute hand on their clocks. I ask them to set the minute hand to o'clock while we move the hour hand. (Some clocks are geared so when one hand moves, the other does as well.) After setting several o'clock times I ask students to use the minute hand and set it to 15 , 30, 45 and 20. I keep an informal record of who is having difficulty with this.

After 10 minutes I switch the 2 groups and repeat the activity.


5 minutes

So far the lesson has all been about right answers. Now I pose a challenge problem on the board for all the students to try to figure out. I want students to come up with an answer and be able to critique their answer against the answers of others and to defend their thinking. I ask students to journal their response first and then we share out.

The question I have posed to the children is: "Emily wants to go to a birthday party. Her father told her that she would have to wait one hour for the party to begin. Her mother told her she would have to wait 50 minutes for the party to begin. Which of those would be the longest time for Emily to wait and how do you know?"