Time to the Nearest Five Minutes

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Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.

Big Idea

Student will be able to tell and write time to the nearest five minutes, and use common time phrases.

Getting Started

20 minutes


Since we have learned a bit about clocks already, I decide to start by reviewing some basic point about clocks. I pointed out when reading a clock face, the short hand points to the hour, and the long hand points to the minute. I did this to insure that those who were having difficulty with time would have an equal chance to state the given time.  I gave students about five minutes to gather their thoughts. I wanted them to be able to state the time, as well as, explain how they got their answer. After that, I ask for volunteers to explain how they got their answer. 

I wanted students to know the difference between analog and digital clocks. (Click on digital clocks to see a detailed explanation.)  In the previous grade students learned how to tell time to the nearest hour and half-hour. I plan to build on to this understanding skip counting by 5 to recognize the minutes. I tell students we will also explore the difference between analog and digital tie. However, my goal is to introduce the common time phrases. 
quarter till,  quarter after,  ten till, ten after, and a half past. You guys should also understand that there are two cycles of 12 hours in the day. 


As I listened to the responses, I noticed students had a difficult time explaining their answers.  I wanted to ensure that they understood the importance of knowing how they arrived at their answer.  I pointed out when figuring out the minutes, multiply the number on the clock face (that the long hand is pointing to) by 5, or count by fives. So, when the minute hand is on the 2, that means it is 10 minutes into the hour. For example, the clock reads 11:30. (I used a pointing stick to point to each number as I counted by fives.)  After I modeled how to use skip counting to tell time I asked volunteer to come up to the board and practice. Be sure to guide students as they practice to correct any misconceptions.  Correcting misconceptions give students the support they need in order to think their way through the problem-solving stage.

In this lesson we will focus on the following Mathematical Practices:

MP.5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

MP.6. Attend to precision.

Interact with Time!

6 minutes

In this interactive lesson, students will learn how to tell time a quarter to a given number. As the video is playing, I will stop to explain how to understand additional time phrases. Basically I want students to have time exploring the following time phrases: quarter till ___, quarter after ___, ten till ___, ten after ___, and half past___. 


Working it Out

20 minutes

After reviewing how to tell time to the nearest five minutes, I wanted the students to practice with partners. (click here to see lesson preview.) I go over some essential details on how to tell time accurately.  As I review the steps I place them on the board in large print. I want the process of telling time to the nearest five-minutes to stay on the board. I encourage students to refer to as needed to help them solve. I also encourage them to use prior concepts to explore the concept of knowing when time is one of the following: quarter till ___, quarter after ___, ten till ___, ten after ___, and half past___. 

  (over a period of time of referring back to the process of telling time, this process will become automatic.) 

Student List to Remember:

  1. The long hand tells the minutes.
  2. The short hand tells the hour.
  3. To find the number of minutes, skip count by.

 As students are working, I chimed in a time or two asking them to explain how they determined their answers. I asked them how do you know what hand gives you the minute? , or what hand gives you the hour? etc.  Having them explain the problem-solving process of telling time allows them to understand why they are telling time and how. Some students are still using vague responses, however, they are beginning to explain the process of telling time to the nearest on their own.

To rap up this section of the lesson we review the detail explanation of each problem. I extend the invitation to student volunteers who discover time differently. This will allow students to become comfortable in exploring different ways to solve and explain.  ( click here for detailed explanation of each problem.)

Student Sample

Applying the Skill

20 minutes

Material: Quick Check

After students are finished practicing together, I ask them to return to their seats. I invite student volunteers to give out some key entry points that they learned throughout the lesson. Some students, explain how to tell time to the nearest, but they have not yet mastered explaining mathematically. It is important to reflect on what the students are learning throughout the lesson.  This helps them to feel a part of the learning process.

I tell students that they will be given a quick check  to see if they were able to tell time to the nearest five minutes, and discuss other time intervals that were discussed earlier in this lesson.  While students worked on telling time, to the nearest five minutes, I walked around to see if there were any misconceptions.  I usually take notes and use the notes to re-teach areas of weakness, or to reflect on in the upcoming lesson.   

Student Sample