Time to the Hour

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SWBAT identify the time to the hour on analog clocks.

Big Idea

Rockin' around the clock! In this lesson students will learn to tell time to the hour using analog clocks.

Activating Strategy

10 minutes

I start this lesson with the video:

After the video, I want the students to get the connection between counting and the numbers on an analog clock.  To make this connection, I give the students a piece of cardstock, a 20 inch length of string and 12 post-it notes. I instruct the students to make a circle on their cardstock with the string and glue it down.  Then I have the students display their post-it notes in a horizontal line on their desk.  We then number them from 1 to 12.  I then guide the students on where to place the post it notes in the correct positions around the yarn circle they have made. 

In this picture the student has made a circle with her yarn and glued it down on her paper.


In this picture, the student is placing her sticky notes in a horizontal line.

In this picture, the student is placing her sticky notes around her clock face.


I then show the students an analog clock and we discuss the similarities and differences between an analog clock and their clock face.

Learning to tell time can be challenging for young children (MD.B.3).  Some students may find it difficult to understand the concept of time and the relationship of the two moving hands on a clock.  In this lesson, children begin to gain an understanding of the hour hand and its function in telling time.

The common core standards for measurement and data (1.MD.) include telling time to the hour and half hour.  Since the standard requires telling time to the hour and half hour, I have included time in my measurement unit. This first grade standard lays the foundation for further exploring time in later grades.

Teaching Strategies

15 minutes

I write numbers in order from 1 to 12 on the board.  Ask the students:

  • How are the numbers ordered? (The numbers are in counting order. Each number is one greater as you count up.)
  • Which number is just before 9? (8)
  • Which number is just after 4? (5)
  • Which number is between 10 and 12? (11)

I have children fill in the missing numbers at the top of their Time to the Hour worksheet (also available as a PPT - Time to the Hour). Then have children use the yarn clock faces they made and count the numbers aloud with children, starting with 1, as they point to each number.

  • Now look at the numbers on the clock face. What number comes after 5? (6)

I have children write 6 in the bottom box on the clock face on their worksheet.

  • What number comes after 11? (12)

I have children write 12 in the top box on the clock face on their worksheet. Then I have children count the numbers on the clock face aloud, starting at 1.

  • What do you notice about the numbers in the clock face you made and the clock face on your page? (Both sets of numbers count forward from 1 to 12.)

Working through the next slide with children, I tell them that the time shown is time to the hour. I make sure to emphasize that when the hour hand points to a number on the clock, it shows the hour, and when writing time to the hour, the last two digits are zeros. 

I then display an analog clock. I like to explain to children that they will be learning how a clock is used to measure time. I also encourage children to make connections between times to the hour and activities in their daily lives.

Modeling with math (MP4) is important in the early grades.  In this lesson students are making their own clock and using their model to relate to analog clocks.

Independent Practice

30 minutes

For the independent practice portion of this lesson, I have the students complete this worksheet: Time to the Hour worksheet.  I like to use the worksheet to ensure that students get lots of practice to solidify their understanding of the concept of telling time to the hour.

As they are completing the worksheet, I walk around and monitor their progress/provide any support they might need.


5 minutes

To close out the lesson, I use a Judy Clock to display a time to the hour - I then have students write that time in their math journal and how they know.