Ghostly Clues

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SWBAT interpret clues to determine what time the clues are describing.

Big Idea

This spooky lesson gets kids excited about telling time to the hour and half hour! Great for 1st grade or a review in 2nd.

Setting Up the Learning

5 minutes

CCSS Context:

Students are expected to tell time to the hour and half hour in first grade (1MDB3). In this lesson, students practice telling time in a different way! Students interpret clues and draw conclusions about what time the clock must say based on the text. This is aligned to the CCSS vision for integrating content knowledge across the curriculum and encouraging students to draw on evidence.

Review past learning:

We will start by singing our clock song! See link below to hear it. You can purchase the song hereClock Song 

Connect to the real world:

Time is a very important thing to learn! Your mom checks the time to see when you need to get on the bus. We check the time to see when we need to go to recess. The cafeteria staff checks the time to see what grade is coming for lunch.

Objective :

Your thinking job today is: What time are these clues describing?

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

Present task: The mystery is a clue that tells you a time. You have to figure out what time it is describing. As we figure out the mystery time, I want you to decide 2 things:

  1. Is this describing a time on the hour? (___:00) Or a time on the half hour? (____:30)
  2. What is the hour?


After I read the clue, we will go through the guiding questions to determine the time.

First clue:

The spooky ghost rang the bell when the clock struck ______________.

The hour hand was on the 4.

The minute hand was on the 12. 

Second clue:

A vampire snuck into the mansion at ___________.

The minute hand was on the 12.

The hour hand was on the 2.

Guiding Questions: These questions help students internalize the process of "Making sense of problems". Giving students the language of these questions means that they have a process to lean on when they independently confront math problems.

  • Retell the clue to a partner.
  • Is this describing a time on the hour or a time on the half hour? What evidence do you have in the clue/ (I’ll underline the evidence a student gives)
  • What is the hour? What in the clue tells you this?
  • Let’s draw this time on a blank clock face.
  • What is the time?


Guided Practice

13 minutes

Student Work:

To practice, everyone is going to get a clue (not all of the clues are the same!). We are going to figure out what time the clock is describing and write how they know it is that time. Students figure out their clue at their desks.

Student Share & Sort:

After 3-5 minutes of work time, we will do a kinesthetic sort. In this activity, I put up a sign on one side of the room for "On the Hour" and another sign on the opposite side of the room that says "Half hour". Students walk to the side of the room that their clue matches. Then students join a partner in their group and explain why they said their clue is hour or half hour.

 Student Share clues are attached!

Independent Practice

15 minutes

All students work on time to the hour and half hour, but each group of students gets a different scaffold based on their current level of understanding.

Group A: Intervention

Students circle the correct time, focusing on whether or not the minute hand is pointing on the hour or half hour.

Group B: Right on Track

Students interpret clues and then sort them into hour and half hour clues.

Group C: Extension

Students write their own clues!

Halloween Clues Independent Practice is attached!