Time to the Half Hour

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SWBAT write times to the half hour shown on analog clocks.

Big Idea

It’s about time! In this lesson students will begin to understand the concept of time and the relationship of the two moving hands on the clock.

Activating Strategy

10 minutes

I start this lesson by giving each student a Judy clock, or other clock model.  I say a time to the hour (which we have practiced previously) and have the students show that time on their clock.  For example, I say “Show me 5:00.”  Students will use their individual clocks to demonstrate the correct time.  I continue to call out random times ensuring that all students have grasped the concept of telling time to the hour.

The standard MD.B.3 requires that students be able to tell and write time to the hour and half hour using digital and analog clocks.  One of the possible misconceptions for students is that they may tend to confuse the hour and the minute hand.  By having the students use a demonstration clock that has movable hands, the students will be able to see concretely that the hour hand moves much slower around the clock than the minute hand.  This will help them with understanding the difference between the hour and minute hands.

Teaching Strategies

15 minutes

I show 9:00 on a large demonstration clock and ask a student to tell me the time.  I ask them:

  • How do you know the clock shows 9:00? (The hour hand is on the 9.)
  • How would you show 1:00? (Move the hour hand so that it points to the 1.)

I like to explain that in today’s lesson we will learn how to tell time to the half hour.  I show a clock with the hour hand on the 4 (PPT also available Time to the Half Hour).  I ask the students: “Look at the hour hand on the first clock.  Which choice best describes the time shown?”  I discuss where the hour hand points and guide them in determining which of the three choices best describes the time.  I repeat for the other two clocks.  I ask the students:

  • How could you describe the movement of the hour hand on the clocks from the clock on the top to the clock on the bottom? (The hour hand points to the 4 on the first clock, then it moves to between the 4 and 5 on the second clock, and then to the 5 on the last clock.)

I tell the students that the hour hand moves around the clock to measure time as it passes.  The hand moves in order around the clock from 1 to 12.  The time it takes for the hour hand to move from one number to the next is one hour.  As I’m discussing, I use a large clock to demonstrate how the hour hand moves around the clock.  I then ask:

  • Where would the hour hand point if the time was after 11:00 but not yet 12:00? (The hour hand would point between the 11 and the 12.)

Showing the second slide on the PPT, I tell students that there are 60 minutes in an hour and when the hour hand is half way between two numbers, then 30 minutes have passed.  Using the example on the PPT, I show them how we write “half past”.  I then guide the discussion:

  • Where does the hour hand point when it is half past 7? (halfway between the 7 and 8.)
  • How much time passes from 7:00 to half past 7:00? (a half hour)
  • How much time passes from 7:00 to 8:00? (one hour)

I then use the remainder of the PPT to have students determine the time.

Independent Practice

30 minutes

For the independent practice portion of this lesson, I have students complete the worksheet, which has them practicing writing “half past”.  The worksheet does not have a minute hand on the clocks.  This is an important strategy to get the students thinking about how the hour hand moves around the clock, and the position of the hour hand when the time is "half past".

For struggling students display a clock with the hour hand set to show 3:00.  Ask the students:

  • Where does the hour hand point? (to the 3)
  • What time is it? (3:00)

Move the hour hand until it is halfway between the 3 and the 4. Discuss that the hour hand now points halfway between two numbers.

  • What time does the clock show now? (half past 3:00)

Have children say the time in unison. Model how to write the time: half past 3:00.  Repeat several times with other examples.


5 minutes

To close out the lesson, I use the Time to the Half Hour powerpoint and have students write their answer in their math journal.