Grade K
. What Is It? Tips and Tricks When Students Ask Current Page:Lesson Ideas
. . .
Developing The Concept


Review the concepts taught in Introducing the Concept. Explain to children that today they will learn about telling time to the hour. When children have the concept of hour, you may then introduce the minute hand, adapting the lesson for the minute hand.

Materials: A demonstration clock with only the hour hand, and another clock with both hands. If you can prepare clocks for each child, prepare one with the hour hand and one with both hands.

Preparation: Make a clock to use on the overhead projector using three sheets of acetate. On one, draw a clock face with no hands. Cut a small hole in the center and put a brad through it from the back side, but do not spread the prongs. Cut the other two circles, one the radius of the hour hand and one the radius of the minute hand. Draw the appropriate hand on each circle. Cut holes in the center of each circle. For the beginning of the lesson, place only the circle with the hour hand on top of the clock face. You could also use a demonstration clock with the minute hand removed.

Prerequisite Skills and Concepts: Children should be able to count from 1 – 12. They should have had experience with sequencing events, duration of events, and the vocabulary terms "first", "next", "last", "long time", "short time", "before", "after", "same time", "daytime", "nighttime".

  • Ask: What kinds of clocks have you seen?
    Allow time for children to share what they have seen.
  • Say: Today we are going to learn how to tell time to the hour on a clock.
    Place the clock on the overhead. (If not using an overhead, use a demonstration clock.)
  • Ask: What are the numbers on the clock? (1-12)
    What do they tell you? (The hour)
    Have children count the numbers as you point to them. Begin with 1. Show the clock with both hands.
  • Ask: How many hands does this clock have? (two)
  • Say: This is the short hand. We call it the hour hand. It tells the hour. The long hand is called the minute hand.
  • Lay the minute hand on top of the hour hand to show the difference in length.
  • Say: Now I am going to take away the minute hand, or long hand, for a little while. I will point the hour hand to the three.
    Move the hand to 3.
  • Ask: What time is it?
    Children should say 3, or 3 o'clock. Encourage the use of o'clock.
  • Continue to move the hand to other numbers on the clock and repeat the question.
  • Say: Now look at where I put the hand.
  • Put the hand so that is a little before 10.
  • Ask: What time is it now?
    Children may say it is 10 o'clock. If so, ask, Is the hour hand right on the 10?
    Children should say that it is before the 10, or not quite to the 10.
  • Say: The hand is not quite on the 10 so we say that it is about 10 o'clock.
    Repeat this activity several times. Then place the hand a little after the 4.
  • Ask: What time is it now?
    Children may say it is 4 o'clock. If so, ask, Is the hour hand right on the 4?
    Children should say that is a little after the 4.
  • Say: Yes, that is correct. It is a little after four.
    Repeat this activity several times.
    When you are sure that children have the concept of hour, on the hour, a little before the hour, or a little after the hour, mix the times.
    When children have had many experiences telling time with the hour hand, place the minute hand on the clock and introduce it, pointing out that they can tell the difference between the minute and hour hand by looking at the length of the hand.
    Demonstrate how the minute hand moves completely around the clock in one hour, while the hour hand moves only from one number to the next.
  • Ask: Where does the minute hand point to when it is five o'clock?
    Children should say to the 12.
    Repeat with several different times.
    Then have children work together with a demonstration clock to practice time to the hour. Also, during the school day, continue to relate time (in hours) to events, such as What time do we go to lunch? and so on.

Wrap-Up and Assessment Hints
Children will need many experiences telling time on a clock. Take the opportunity often throughout the day to return to the clock and talk about the time. Use the vocabulary of "o'clock", "a little before", "a little after", and so on. Keep a demonstration clock out at all times and encourage children to practice with it, building children's understanding of time.


Mathematics Center | Math Steps
Education Place | Site Index
Copyright © 1999 Houghton Mifflin Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms and Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy.