Who Stole the Diamond? Clock Clues

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SWBAT interpret clues to figure out a given time. SWBAT tell time to the quarter hour. SWBAT deduce based on given clues who stole the diamond.

Big Idea

Students dive headfirst into solving a mystery of the stolen diamond in this time to the 15 minute lesson, perfect for 1st or 2nd grade.

Setting Up the Learning

5 minutes


Quickly review hour hand and minute hand, and steps of telling time. The big things I'll focus on during the review is that the small hand tells the hour, we start with it first, and we lean back to the previous number when it is in the middle. These tend to be the things students forget. I'll just use my teacher clock to model these important concepts!


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? How does that help me solve the mystery?

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

Present Engaging Task: Starting with problems like this one increase student engagement. They aren't figuring out the time because I told them to, they are figuring out the time because they WANT to! Not only is it cool, it also is much more rigorous then me just showing them a clock and asking what the time is.

I have a mystery here to share with you. In this mystery, someone faked that they were a goblin and stole an expensive diamond from the mansion! The diamond was stolen at 9:30 at night. You have to use the clues to figure out WHO was the person dressed up as the goblin at 9:30, and thus who stole the diamond.

I'll have the story on chart paper for students to refer to throughout:

It was a dark, spooky Halloween night. Mr. and Mrs. Green were in their beautiful mansion, passing out candy to trick or treaters. Lots of people came to their house that night. At 9:30, someone dressed as a goblin ran into the mansion and stole the world’s largest diamond. We need your help to figure out who was there at 9:30.

Here are the list of suspects:

  • Joe
  • May
  • Pam
  • Matt
  • Cam
  • Penny
  • Jack
  • Tom
  • Mr. White
  • Ms. Brown

Now that we know who the suspects are, we have to read the clues and figure out which suspect was in the house at 9:30. The problem is, we only have where the hour hand and minute hand were at the time the suspects entered the house. 

Let’s do the clue about Joe together:

Joe got to the house when the hour hand was on the 6 and the minute hand was on the 3.

Guiding Questions:

  • Retell the clue to a partner.
  • What is the hour? How do you know? How do I draw the hour hand?
  • What is the minute? How do you know? Where do I draw it?
  • What is the time?

So Joe was in the house at 6:15. Was he the person that stole the diamond? No! How are you sure? I’ll cross him off the list.

Student Work Time and Share

20 minutes

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Students get different sheets of clues. Students show the time on the blank clock face and then write the time on the clue. After students figure out who stole the diamond using the clues, they fill out a Detective Report.

Spoiler Alert! Penny stole the diamond. Even though students have different clue sheets based on what skills they are working on, Penny's clue is the same on every sheet. 

  • Group A: Intervention - Students continue to work on time to the half hour. I kept these kids together in a small group.
  • Group B: Right on Track - Students do time to the 15 minutes. 
  • Group C: Extension - Students do time to the 5 minutes.

Click here for the Clues and Detective Report Documents!


10 minutes

Students come back together and do a shared writing experience. After students share their detective reports, the class makes a Detective Report together! This is aligned to CCSS W.1.7, "Participate in shared research and writing projects".