A.M. or P.M.

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Students will be able to read and write time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour, and five-minute intervals using digital and analog clocks.

Big Idea

SWAT tell and write time using a.m. and p.m.


10 minutes

In this interactive video, I want students to see how time is divided between 2 twelve hour intervals. (a.m. and p.m.) As the video is playing, I pause to have students to connect to the different times during the day. I may ask what time do you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This will allow them to make the connection from previous lesson we have had on time. 

We will be focusing on the following Mathematical Practices in this lesson:

MP.5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

MP.6. Attend to precision.


To Begin

20 minutes

Material: Pictures Clues.docx  Section Clocks.docx

In this portion of the lesson, I draw a large clock on the board and call out various times. I ask student volunteers to fill in the given clock correctly. I want to make sure that student understand the concept of telling time, before explaining the difference between a.m. and p.m. 

Once students have had time to think and discuss the process of telling time, I ask them to read along with me as I stated the objective for this lesson.  (SWBAT tells the difference between a.m. and p.m.) Students should know the purpose of the lesson and what is expected for them to do. This allows them to take responsibility for their own learning, and to become independent thinkers.

After that, I fold a large sheet of paper into six sections… and place a picture clip from a magazine into each section. The pictures represented various times of the day that the students could connect to.  The pictures included: people eating lunch, breakfast, dinner, star gazing, baseball game, etc. I labeled each section am or pm time.  As I pointed to each picture I ask students to tell me if the picture took place in the a.m. or p.m.  Several students notice that it is a 12 hour break between a.m. and p.m., but the share the same numbers. This will help them move towards understanding more complex configures dealing with telling time in a more complex form.

Probing questions:


  • What if you had started with _____ rather than _____?
  • What if you could only use______?
  • What have you learned or found out today?
  • Did you use or learn any new words today? What do they mean?
  • What are the key points or big ideas in this lesson?



20 minutes

Material: am and pm activity.docx

Because students have been working on the concept of time for a while now, I want to allow them time to practice determining.. if a given picture representation is a.m. or p.m. I ask them to move into their assigned groups and discuss each picture given, to determine the time interval.  I ask them to set the time on their hand-held analog clocks. Some kids notice that you can not tell the difference between a.m. and p.m. unless you actually know what time of day it is. As students are working, I ask them some probing questions to see if they are able to explain mathematically.

For instance: How do you know? Explain? What is the difference between a.m./p.m.? What hand gives the hour? What hand gives the minute? Can you use some common time phrases? Demonstrate? 

Test it Out

20 minutes

Material: Quick Check

After the students have finished up their models, I brought the groups back together to share their work with others. 

 I tell students that I have seen some great collaborative work and discussion on how to tell the difference between am and pm. I explain that all groups will get a chance to share out what they have learned. Having students share out their learning experience, makes them a bit more comfortable in explaining how they solved.  After a group is finish they may call on the next group to come up and share until all groups are finished. 

As students are sharing their learning experience, I take notes on their strengths and weaknesses to determine if they need additional practice time.  

 For the closing I ask students to give me three facts they learned about telling the difference between am and pm.

Student’s responses:

  1. You eat breakfast in the morning, and that’s a.m.
  2. We eat lunch at school and that’s p.m.
  3. Even though, dinner is usually at night and lunch is in the daytime they are both p.m.

Students made a great connection between real-world experiences and learning the difference between am and pm. Asking them to state what they have learn give an exact measurement of what they have learned.


As an exit ticket students were asked to complete a worksheet choosing am or pm.  I used this assessment as a test grade.