Telling Time in Many Ways

by Laurie Laurendeau on September 6, 2011

Children today are accustomed to seeing digital clocks.  They are less familiar with clocks with hands (analog clocks), but it is still important that they learn to tell time in both ways.  This blog is not about all the steps to teach your child to tell time.  Rather, it is for the child who thinks they know how to tell time…

If you think that your child knows how to tell time, but you want to check her knowledge of both digital and analog clocks, here are a few things you can try:

  • Be sure your child understands the basics of an analog clock:  The short hand is the hour hand, and the long hand is the minute hand.
  • The hours are written around the outside of the clock, and these numbers also represent 5-minute increments for the minute hand.
  • Draw a clock on a piece of paper.  If you have a plastic page protector and a dry-erase marker, slip the paper with the clock into it.
  • Draw hands on the clock with the dry-erase marker (or a pencil if you don’t have the page protector).  Ex:  make 4:30.  Ask your child to tell you the time.  She will probably say “four-thirty”.  Ask her if she knows a different way to say the same time.  If she has troubles, tell her you can also say “half-past four”.  Explain why it’s “half-past” by showing that the minute hand has gone halfway around the clock to the next hour.
  • Use a tissue to erase the hands on the clock (or an eraser if you used a pencil).  Try drawing another time on the clock such as 2:45.  Ask your child what time it is.  She may say, “two forty-five”.  Challenge her to tell you the time in a different way (a quarter to three, or a quarter til three).  You will likely have to explain why we use the word “quarter” (it is 1/4 of an hour, or 1/4 of the clock).
  • Continue giving her times on the clock, especially times that end with 15, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55, as these are usually more difficult.

Laurie 🙂

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