How to teach
When teaching time at KS1 usually in Year 2, first make sure that children really understand that an analogue clock face is just a special kind of number line.
In order to do this, write the numbers one to twelve on mini post its (or similar), then display them horizontally in a line from 1 to 12, equally spaced, with a gap in between each one. Then make an arrow representing the “hand” (note: calling it a hand when it is an arrow will baffle some children!)
Next, explain that when the hand points to a number, this tells us how many hours it is. Make sure you point exactly at the number and not slightly to the left or right of it. Tell the children that instead of saying ‘three hours’ we say ‘three o’clock’.
A number line pointing to the number three to represent 3 o’ clock
Give the whole class their own set of post its and hands and repeat this enough times on different hours until everyone can do it. This step is pretty easy, but it gets harder.
Once this is secure, model how we can use our number line to find out what time it will be one hour later. Model moving the arrow from three to four to move one hour. Then extend to two hours later and so on.
When you get to 12 and ask what time it is one hour later, explain that instead of going up to 13, we put the numbers in a circle and start back at 1.
Then move your post its into a circle, in familiar clock face style with the arrow in the middle
Again ask what is one hour later for various times, culminating in asking what is one hour later for 12 o’clock. Now pupils can see that it must be 1 o’clock.
An example ‘counting around the clock’ exercise from Third Space Learning’s online classroom.
Extend this by doing an example of two hours later, three hours later, and so on, from various starting points.
At this point, you may feel your children are ready for you to explain how we can use our clock to find out what time is one hour earlier than 3 o’clock.
Notice I haven’t introduced half past at all yet for telling the time in KS1. I am going to wait until I am convinced everybody has really mastered using their clock as a circular number line to count on and back in whole hours to find out how many hours later and earlier something is.
I will include questions such as ‘if it is 4 o’clock now, what time was it 2 hours earlier? And ‘I left home at 10 o’clock and got to the shops at 12 o’clock, how long did it take me?’
I will resist the temptation to rush on to half past until we can all do this!
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