Understanding Time - a Life Skill

The concept of time can be a difficult concept for students to grasp. It is not just about learning to ‘tell the time.’ Understanding when we do things and why, is an important life skill. Time management helps us structure our day and be on time for appointments and meetings, sports games and after…

The concept of time can be a difficult concept for students to grasp. It is not just about learning to ‘tell the time.’ Understanding when we do things and why, is an important life skill. Time management helps us structure our day and be on time for appointments and meetings, sports games and after school activities.

Room 12 have been relating time to our school timetable.

• 9.00 School starts
• 11.00 Morning tea
• 11.30 Morning tea finished
• 1.00 Lunch
• 1.45 Lunch finished
• 3.00 School ends

Digital clocks are everywhere; on our classroom screens, watches, and mobile phones. Telling the time on a digital clock is easier than learning to use an analogue clock.

Mathematics with a number focus shows how we can relate an analogue clock to fractions and connect these two mathematical concepts. The first fractions taught are one whole, a half, and a quarter - these can be shown on the face of a clock. Students discussed the small hand of the clock representing the hour and the large minute hand pointing to the 12 at the top of the clock representing o’clock.

The students could show on their clocks the hour time of our timetable. 9 o’clock, 11 o’clock, 1 o’clock, and 3 o’clock.

Using our clocks, I explained when the small hand is between numbers for example, 11 and 12 and the minute hand is on the 6 it represents a half hour. The hour hand has not got to the next number yet so in our example we see the clock as reading half past 11. For half an hour to read on an analogue clock the large hand must be on the 6. This is the same as half of a circle. The students could relate to the finishing of morning tea and were able to read half past 11 on the clock on the wall.

Now that the students had an understanding of the hour and the half hour we could explore the relationship between quarter of a circle and quarter on the clock face. The words ‘past’ and ‘to’ were introduced to our conversations. By putting the hour hand at the 12 and taking the large minute hand and placing it at the 3 on the clock we could see that it was a quarter of the circle.

The students were shown when the large minute hand was on the 3 representing quarter of the circle and the word ‘past’ was used. The same is true if the large minute hand is on the 9 representing quarter of the circle and the word ‘to’ is used.

The school timetable was a practical and authentic resource that the students could relate these concepts of time to. Some students like to know how long before morning tea, lunch, and home time. The next steps will be investigating minutes and introducing skip counting in 5’s around the clock.

Suzanne Flowers

My passion is to create a love of learning so my students become ‘lifelong learners’. My focus is the importance of acquiring knowledge so I can keep informed and keep my students up to date with new learning strategies.

I am a local here and enjoy all that Taupō has to offer. I love walking with my husband and dog by the lake or river, having coffee with friends, family gatherings, and gardening. When not in Taupō I enjoy being by the sea at Papamoa.