Telling time to the nearest minute can be difficult for many students. Below are hands-on activities that make learning how to tell time fun!
1. What Time Is It?!
Students wear paper watches and go around the room asking each of their peers, “What time is it?” Their peers show them their watch faces (without stating the time on their watches). Then students record the time they read on each of their peers’ watches.
Printable: Analog Wristwatch (blank clock faces). Cut strips out of construction paper and have students design their wristbands. Then have them wear their bands (staple them like a bracelet) and tape their watch faces onto their bands. Prior to this activity, draw hands on the clock faces and write down what time you gave each child. This makes the assessment process easier. For the recording document, you can create a Word document table (two columns) and use one side for students’ names and the other for the times they record.
2. Now Showing! (Movie Times)
Students look up the time of a movie they would like to see. They write the time down and draw the hands of the time on an analog clock. Then they design a poster for the movie they want to see! Afterwards they show two different times that the movie is playing. If your class does not have access to computers, you can print out movie times (of kid-friendly flicks) for the students to record. For this activity, I made up times for kids’ movies that are currently playing at movie theaters since third graders need more of a challenge (telling time to the nearest minute). Click here for a recording sheet.
3. Musical Clocks
This idea was inspired by What the Teacher Wants. Students are given a blank clock (Click here for the printable: Musical Clock). They draw hands on the clock (hour and minute). Then they are given a recording document (included in the PDF). Play music and the students dance around, moving from desk to desk. When the music stops, they record the name of the peers whose desks they stopped at and the time on the clock. Once they have recorded all of the times, they turn in their clock and recording sheet so the teacher can assess their time-telling skills.
4. I SPY Time (+ Elapsed Time)
Post paper analog clocks around the room. Students go around the room and record the times on the clocks. Click here for a printable (recording sheet and blank clock face to photocopy): I SPY Time. For more of a challenge, write “What will the time be in ____ minutes?” underneath each clock. After students record the time on the clock, they have to figure out what the time will be in a certain number of minutes.
I differentiated this activity by splitting the class up into two groups. Students had to write the time and elapsed time for 10 clocks. Students who needed a challenge were on one side of the room. Students who had difficulty with time were on the other side of the room. They were able to have fun and work at their own pace simultaneously.
5. Time for …
For practice at home, have students record the time they do a special or unique activity on an analog clock and figure out the duration. Examples could include: basketball practice, dance class, watching their favorite TV show or eating a banana. They record the times the activity started and ended on an analog clock. Click here for a free printable: 3 Activities (TIME).
Erin Bittman is a second-/third-grade student teacher in a multi-grade classroom at a German Magnet School. She attends the University of Cincinnati. Check out her blog, E Is for Explore!