I often think teaching time is one of the hardest concepts within primary school, not only because of the 60 seconds/minutes in an hour and 12/24 hours in a day, but also because of the differences between analogue and digital times. Some children arrive at the lesson with a good understanding of time, while others might still be in the early stages of learning. What follows is an idea which can be given to the children who can already tell the time – it is like a little puzzle.
Being a super trendy teacher of mathematics I have bought one of those fancy clocks with no numbers on them. In a recently burglary while I was away on holiday (you can change the scenario as you see fit) the clock got knocked off the wall and stopped. The police would like to know what times the crime could have taken place from the clock. There is one problem, since the clock is on the floor, they can’t tell which is the top or bottom of the clock.
Questions to ask the children –
Would it be possible to tell the time not knowing which way up the clock goes?
Are there any times when the hands will be directly on top of each other or directly opposite? (remember at half past the hour hand will have moved)
Are there some times that are symmetrical and will provide different results – would ten to nine be the same as twenty past three? (provide a geared clock to let the children check their answers)
As an finishing point, you could give the children the clock and ask them to provide the police with the correct answer of the time, ensuring that they provide an explanation.