Understanding Time

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SWBAT identify activities that correspond to approximate times: second, minute, and hour.

Big Idea

First graders have a difficult time explaining happenings in relation to time. This lesson will help them explore ideas that can be categorized as taking a second, minute, or an hour.

Rev Them Up

5 minutes

I will have my students gather around our rocking chair for a read aloud. I love when I connect good literature with a math topic. I will be reading aloud the book, A Second is a Hiccup by Hazel Hutchins.  This book will provide us lots of discussion and get my students thinking about time increments. It provides ideas towards; what is a second, minute, hour, day, week, etc.

Whole Group Interaction

15 minutes

After reading the book I want us to discuss how much is a second, minute, and hour.  I want them to have a strong notion of these increments before we move ahead. Common core standards want us to teach concepts at a more in-depth level and create a thorough understanding for our students, rather than rush through in an effort to "cover" more concepts. I do not want to dive into teaching reading time to the hour and half-hour on an analog and digital clock until my students understand time increments and can apply their understanding to real world scenarios (1.MD.3).  

Watch the Student Ideas Examples Video as we discuss their ideas of what could be accomplished in different amounts of time.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

I feel that the Common Core math practices promote inquiry-based learning. There are 8 different math practices I want to make sure I have my students progress towards over the school year, and different topics can be well-suited to supporting student engagement with different practices.  I like to look at my objective and see what practice(s) I can focus on building into my lesson.  For today's lesson, I need my students to realize there is a structure to telling time.  Once they understand this structure of time and clocks, they will be able to use the same structure over and over when telling time (MP7).

In this activity, I want them to supply examples of what can be done in a certain amount of time. They must organize their thoughts and be able to clearly express themselves for this situation to be able to convey what can or cannot happen in a certain amount of time. I will provide my students with a blank piece of paper and show them how to divide it into three sections.  I will help them label each section with the following titles:

  • A second is a ____________.
  • A minute is a ____________.
  • An hour is a ____________.

Watch these video instructions to help you get your class started.

I will ask them to draw and complete their sentences for each section. Here is one of my student's completing work and a finished product. It will be okay with me if they use an example from the book, but I will encourage them to come up with their own ideas. In the resource section, you can find a video of a student completing her assignment and a picture of a finished product.


5 minutes

After my students complete their practice work to identify a second, minute and hour.  I will share a short video from YouTube with them about how an analog clock moves.  I found an entertaining video that teaches the kids a repetitive song about time. It includes the hours the short hand points at and what it would like in digital format.  Our entire school runs on digital time clocks and other than interaction they have had outside of school with analog, we have had none in school.  I wanted all of them to see this video to lay a foundation for my lesson tomorrow.  You can go here to view the video.

Tomorrow's lesson will be Show and Tell, and I am asking my students to bring in a variety of time pieces from home to share with the class. You can go here to view the lesson.