What's the Difference?

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SWBAT articulate the similarities and differences between time to the hour and half hour. SWBAT tell time to the hour and half hour.

Big Idea

Students compare and contrast clocks in this rigorous first grade lesson. This lesson also would be a great review in 2nd grade!

Setting Up the Learning

7 minutes

CCSS Context:

This is the first time students encounter clocks in the CCSS standards. Students are expected to tell time to the hour and half hour in first grade, and to the 5 minutes in 2nd grade. This lesson asks students to compare hour and half hour times. This gets at a rigorous level of Bloom's: students are expected to notice similarities and differences. This also helps students not confuse hour and half hour in later lessons!


Yesterday we learned how to tell time to the half hour. To get our brains ready, let's review the steps for telling time and practice a few times together.


This is important because we have to be able to tell any time we see on the clock! 


Your thinking job today is: How does the clock look different when it is showing time to the hour and half hour?

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

I'll have a Venn Diagram on the board. On one side, I"ll have a clock that shows 10:00 and one that shows 10:30. See attached picture for our diagram!

  • Before starting the lesson, we will quickly discuss how a Venn diagram helps us organize your thinking. This allows for a tie in to using graphic organizers to organize student thinking for RL.1.9, "Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters".


Present problem: I have 2 clocks here. We do important things at both of these times. But the problem is, I can’t figure out which one is which! I am not sure which one is 10:00 and which one is 10:30. Does anyone think they know?

Let’s look at the clocks carefully. How are they the same?

  • Big point I want students to understand: Both hour hands are at 10.
  • Other points I may hear are about how the clock looks the same (face, hands, numbers, etc).

Now how are the clocks different?

  • Big point I want students to understand: The minute hand is pointing to different numbers. One is o'clock, one is 30.

I'll go through list and challenge each thing on the list:

  • “You say that on both of these the hour hand is on the 10, but I think you are wrong. In this one, the hour hand is close to the 11, so I think it is on the 11. Agree or disagree? Why not?”
  • “The minute hand is on the 12 on this one and the 6 on that one. (Point to 10:30)-this one must be 10:6. Agree or disagree?”
  • “I’m unclear about why the minute hand says 00 on this one and 30 on this one. Can someone explain to me why?”
  • “Why can’t I say 30 for both of them? Why can’t I say 00 for both of them?


See the Class Chart for the list we made as a class!

Guided Practice

15 minutes

I’ll show two clocks for this activity. I’ll show the clocks one at a time and have students write the time on their white boards. Then I’ll ask some of the guiding questions after each clock time. 

Whiteboards help me address misconceptions right away with students. It is an effective engagement strategy because all students are having to think and provide an answer. Then I can quickly assess in the moment if I need to address something whole group, or if I need to address a misconception with an individual student.

  • First set of clocks-one is 6:00, one is 12:30 
  • Second set of clocks-both half hour
  • Third set of clocks-both have the same hour, but one is o’clock, one is on the 30.

Guiding Questions:

  • How are the clocks the same? How are they different?
  • How are you sure of the hour? How about the minute?





Independent Practice

15 minutes

Group A: Intervention

Students pay attention to where the minute hand is-on the half or whole hours. Circle the matching time. When students finish, they will start the Group B work.

 See video of a student talking through one of the clocks on the clock sort. She had just completed the Group A work and had moved on to the Group B!

Group B: Right on Track

Students sort half hour and hour clocks and write the times that match the clocks and then write how they are all the same in each column. 

Group C: Extension

Students sort half hour and hour, but have the added challenge of the quarter hour. Can students differentiate between all three times?


See attached documents for independent practice!


8 minutes

Students complete exit ticket and then play a game to close out the day.

See attached document for exit ticket (3 per sheet).

See this link for this great game free from morestarfall.com.