Math Background

Time: When Students Ask

  • Why do I need to know how to tell time?
    Explain to children that if they want to do something at a certain time, such as get to school on time, go to a party, or catch a bus, they need to be able to tell time. They need to know what day of the week it is so that they know when to go to school, when the weekend is, what day their birthday is, and so on. They need to know the months of the year so they know when there is school, when it is summer, when it is the month of their birthday, and so on.
  • How do I know if it is daytime or nighttime when I look at the clock?
    Explain that the clock does not specify whether it is daytime or nighttime. Tell children that they know by their surroundings: They can look outside, they know whether they just got up or whether it is dark and they are about to go to bed, and so on.
  • What is noon? What is midnight?
    Explain to children that these two words are used to describe the two times of the day when a clock reads 12 o'clock. The word noon is used when it is 12 o'clock at the middle of the day, or at about lunchtime. The word midnight is used when it is 12 o'clock at night and it is very dark.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K