Monday, 8 September 2014

What's the time Mr. Wolf?

Our current unit of learning in maths requires my young people to work with time. Our pre-assessment showed that many of them have somehow missed a lot of the skills involved in reading analogue clocks so I've paused our official unit to redress this. 

I started with a review of my understanding of the sequential development of reading time. Recognising that the reading of digital time is significantly easier, I started with a recap on the parts of an analogue clock face and their roles. I went right back to basics and we made interactive clock faces inspired by this pin

My research highlighted that at this age confusion about the hour and minute hands is often still prevalent, and this has been the case for many of my young people. Another point of confusion in our class is about hand movement.  We've worked hard to remove this confusion and today we had quite a few a-ha moments. You know the ones:
"So it takes an hour for the big hand to go all the way around, but the little hand only moves  between two numbers in one hour?"
Tic Tocs! 
"There are five minutes between two numbers but also an hour!"
Yes indeed!

Next I pulled out the big guns: a packet of Tic Tocs!  (For readers outside of Australia: Tic Tocs are a round iced vanilla biscuit (cookie), with clock faces embossed on the underside, made by Arnotts.)

Our white boards.
I pulled out the first couple and read the time. Using the clocks that we made the other day the class had to show me the time on their clocks. Moving on pretty quickly I started drawing the time (on an analogue clock) on my white board and asking the class to write the digital time on their show-me boards. Still moving pretty quickly I started giving a ranged of elapsed times - forward and back. Is back also called elapsed? Prolapsed? Hmmm.
The clocks were essentially cast aside by some children as understanding developed. Other children continued to use their clocks to self-check.   The high flyers worked in 24hour time, challenging themselves to make word problems to match my elapsed times.  (Yes, I did scribble them down for future use!)

You may be able to see here that each number on the clock
has a flap. Underneath has :05 or :35 etc.
Our very last step in today's lesson was by far the best hardest ... Eating the Tic Tocs! Tomorrow we'll use this new understanding with our 'official' unit on timetables.

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 1 Know students and how they learn
Standard 2 Know the content and how to teach it
Standard 3 Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
Standard 5 Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning


  1. One might think of a year six / seven teacher

    Fortunately you made time.

    1. Oh you! That's dreadful. For anyone playing along who can't be bothered opening that link: Ain't nobody got time for that...