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Telling Time to the Hour and Half Hour

Numbers and lines used to explain mathematical concepts are abstract symbols used to represent the concrete concepts.

The lessons, activities, and worksheets below will help your children to make the connection between these abstract and concrete concepts.

In particular, this lesson will help your children to tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog clocks.

Warm Up

There are three activities below for you to work through with your children. The first is a song!

“We are going to sing Hickory, Dickory, Dock .”

Sing Out Loud! Click here to open the nursery rhyme “Hickory, Dickory Dock!”

  1. Print off and cut out these twelve clocks.
  2. As you sing, Hickory, Dickory Dock, find the clock that matches the corresponding time and line the clocks up in the correct order. You may want to beat a drum or ring a bell as the clock strikes each hour just like a grandfather clock might. Dong. Dong. Dong, 3 o’clock.
  3. Once finished the song, discuss the hour hand; the short hand, and the minute hand; the long hand.
  4. Show your children how the hour hand moves around the clock and points at each hour.
  5. Show your children that the minute hand has to be pointing at the 12 to represent an hour.
  6. Respond openly and honestly to any questions your children ask. They may have knowledge of how time works and you want to nurture that. Equally, if they have no questions, recognize where they are in their development and use the lessons, examples and worksheets at HelpingWithMath.com as a guide. Be careful not to give too much information as this may confuse and turn them off.
  7. Sing the song often, in the car, at a party, walking to the store, to friends and family. Have others join in.
  8. Have that mouse running around those clocks just for fun. Squeak. Squeak.

Your children need to understand that time is measurable and is divided into hours.  The analog clock shows the hours represented by the numbers 1 to 12 around the analog clock. (a.m & p.m. will be introduced in Grade 2; however, if it comes up in conversation certainly address the concept to the level that your children understand. Meet them at their level.)

Before you begin, tell your children that; “In five minutes, we will be meeting at our desk to work on your math.”

Telling Time to the Hour

Decide on a quiet place to work together.

“We will be working for 10 minutes today. I will show you how to set the timer so that we will concentrate on our work for that length of time.”Be aware of the level of interest in your children and adjust the time accordingly.  If you decide to cut the time short, explain to your children that you have spent enough time on this work for now and end the lesson.
Comparing Finger RaiseAgain, discuss the clock. Review by showing your children the analog clock and discussing the hour hand; which is the short hand, the minute hand; the long hand and the second hand; the skinny, red hand, (if it is present on your clock).Tell your children you are going to play a game called, Comparing Finger Raise. Your children may have played Finger Raise in an earlier lesson.
Say Do
“I am going to ring the bell for two different lengths of time.  I will say, First., for the first time. You will hear a starting bell, time will pass and than I will ring an ending bell. That will be the first length of time.  Then, I will do a second length of time. I will say, Second. You will hear a starting bell, time will pass and than you will hear an ending bell.  At the end of hearing both durations of time I would like you to tell me which duration you think was longer,the first one or the second one.”
Walk through a practice run with your children whenever you are introducing a new game, concept  or activity so that they understand the rules or expectations and meet with success.
“Now, sit with your back to me. Ready, steady, go.  First”
Ring the bell. Count your chosen length of time. (e.g. count in your head, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten) ring the bell. That is one duration of time.
Count your chosen length of time. (e.g. one, two, three, four, five) ring the bell. That is the end of the second duration of time.
“Which do you think was longer?” “Which do you think was shorter?” “Can we make the time the exact same?”

This game can be played many times over. Switch bell ringers. Have your children ring two different lengths of time so that they master the concept of different lengths of time.

When you are just beginning to play this game, have the two lengths of time significantly far apart so that the children may clearly see, (hear), the difference between the two durations of time. As they master the game, have the times closer together.  If your children are not giving you the correct answers, widen the time apart to make it more obvious and easier for your children to learn and master the skill of comparing durations of time.

Play this game often and use different intervals of time to bring greater understanding. Discuss with your children when they can play this game. e.g. in the car, walking from the door to the school, grocery shopping. Draw your children’s attention to the duration of time life events take. “Do you think it takes longer to walk to school or drive to school?” “What takes longer, making popcorn or baking a cake?” Ask your children questions that happen in their life.

Telling Time to the Hour

Objective: Your children will be able to read time to the hour.

Gather the following materials with your children.

  • A journal or diary type book. Coiled books are easy to work in.
  • An analog clock
  • Pencil, eraser, color pencils or crayons
  • Kitchen timer
  • Metronome or pendulum
  • Minutes glass sand timer, (some game boards have them)
  • A bell or some method of making a sound

Follow the steps below to help your children develop an understanding of time to the hour.

Tick Tock Time

1. Discuss with your children different events throughout their day that begin or end on an hour. Example; “We watch the news at 6:00.” “You go to bed at 8:00.” “We read stories for one hour.” “We watch a movie for two hours.” “You arrive at school at 9:00.” Pick times that have the most significance in your children’s lives. You can do this all day long, all year long. Here, more is better.

2. By turning the dial on the back of your analog clock you can show the times you have discussed with your children. Give them a turn to turn the dial. Have them tell you times and show them on the clock too. You may want to point out how the minute hand moves around the clock faster than the hour hand. We need sixty minutes to make one hour.

To help children make the connections with different times, they need to compare intervals of time. The following activities will fine tune their predicting skills and help them to see relationships between intervals of time. Do the activities often so that your children deepen their understanding of time.

1st Grade Telling Time Worksheets

There are more telling time worksheets here. There are also several tips for helping your children to learn about time.

Ongoing Activity

  • Keep a journal of clocks observed by your children when they are out and about in your community. Your children can draw a picture of the clock and ask if there is a story behind it. If so, write about it too.
    e.g. Granny’s digital clock. The clock tower in the church or town hall. Clocks in the school. The clock on the stove, microwave or one in the car. They discover clocks that do not work too. Discuss the similarities and differences of the clocks. Have fun clock hunting. How many can you count in one outing? How many are digital? Analog? Big? Small?
  • Add to the journal as time goes by. It is easiest to start the clock hunt in the home.
  • Always date each clock hunt day; this is keeping track of time too.