Teaching Telling the Time – Introducing the Minute Hand

Now that the children are happy with the hour hand, and confident that they can tell the time more or less with just this hand, it’s time to introduce the minute hand. We compare the size to the hour hand and note that it is longer.

I explain that this one counts the minutes round the clock, and make sure they are happy that there are 60 minutes in an hour and 30 minutes in half an hour.

I show them a clock face that has the positions of the numbers marked on, but not the numbers themselves. We start at the top, and count to the bottom in fives, stopping at each mark as we go, to establish that 30 minutes is half way round. We repeat, this time writing o’clock at the top, and the numbers five to thirty in words on the clock. We put ‘fifteen’ and ‘thirty’ in brackets and write ‘quarter’ and ‘half’ underneath them.

We then return to the top of the clock and count in fives anti-clockwise, writing on the numbers as we go round. Again we put fifteen in brackets and write quarter underneath. We then look briefly at the symmetry of the clock face, with the fives opposite each other, tens opposite each other etc.

Finally we move the minute hand all the way round the clock, noting that to start with it is going past the o’clock, but that when it passes the bottom it starts getting closer to the o’clock. We compare this to the hour hand going past one hour and getting closer to the next one.

We practise showing different minutes on the clock: ten past and ten to, twenty past and twenty to, and so on.  I always keep the times in pairs, and always ask for the ‘past’ first to give children time to sort out in their own minds which side is ‘past’ and which is ‘to’. If necessary I will draw a line between o’clock and half past and label each side of the clock with past and to for a visual clue.

When the children are confident with the minute hand, move on to putting both hands together.

For maths and English tutoring in the north Birmingham, Sandwell and Walsall areas, visit www.sjbteaching.com. For links to other interesting education related articles, come and Like my Facebook page.

Related posts: Teaching Telling the Time – Introducing the Hour Hand  Teaching the Times Tables, Teaching Number Bonds

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2 Responses to Teaching Telling the Time – Introducing the Minute Hand

  1. Gilly Gee says:

    How old are children learning to tell the time? I’m sure I taught mine before they went to school.

    • sjbwriting says:

      Hi Gilly. I do a lot of work with under-achieving children, so I have to find ways to teach children who have struggled with more conventional methods at school and/or home. I use this method with children aged about 10-11 who haven’t managed to learn to tell the time alongside their classmates.

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