Telling time is a tricky skill to learn. Students often get confused when the hour hand is between two numbers. To help clarify which hour it is I came up a few simple hacks & math strategies, to first explicitly teach the hour space before teaching time past the hour.
Read on to grab free telling time math games and learn strategies that stick!
It’s important for students to know “who owns the space” between numbers on a clock and the math games at the end of this post will give your students hands-on practice in identifying the hour space, determining the time before and after the hour. And they’ll make telling time more fun!
How to Teach the Hour Space
Once students understand how the minute hand and the hour hand operate, I think it is important to explicitly teach the hour space. When students understand the hour space, it’s easier for them to tell time before and after the hour.
Teach students the hour space by explaining that the space between the numbers that belongs to the number it comes after.
I use the analogy of a room. Most schools have connecting doors between classrooms. Explain to students that each number on the clock is a door. And when going through each door (in a clockwise direction) we walk into the “room” that belongs to the number whose door we just went through.
Have students practice this concept, and make it concrete and hands-on, by placing connecting cubes in the spaces between the numbers on the clock.
Blast Off to Hour Space Game
In this game, students practice identifying the space that “belongs” to each number on the clock.
To play Blast Off, simply place the number cards face down, draw a card, and ask,” Which space belongs to (the number on the card)?” Students can use beans, mini erasers, chips, or anything else you have available to mark the spaces.
(After you finish this post, be sure to read the post that explains how to teach the hour space strategies.)
Color My Space
Students read the sentence under each clock. Next they use highlighters or crayons to color the hour spaces that belong to the given hour in the sentence.
Make a Hook Game
This next game is my absolute favorite for practicing time past the hour. It adds novelty with the hooks, it’s concrete, and it’s hands-on.
First make the hooks. Cut a pipe cleaner stick into four pieces and bend the end of each piece around your finger to form a hook that looks like a backward J. Students line up the straight end on the hour hand and the hook points to the hour the minutes have passed.
I recommend making the hooks ahead of time, so they are the right size to fit the clock cards, and then adding this activity to your math centers. Students can then play the game independently or with a classmate by placing the hook on the clock face, reading the time and writing it on the recording sheet.
Free Telling Time Games
Learn how to teach each of these simple time past the hour math strategies, then pop in your non-school email address below to get the free telling time games for your students to practice them! The games will be sent straight to your inbox. If you don’t see my email be sure to check your spam folder.
Need more high engagement telling time activities? Check out this telling time math unit. It includes differentiated resources for teaching time to the hour, half hour, and nearest five minutes. And they’re all in one money-saving resource.
Your students will love the interactive anchor chart that doubles as a game board! The unit also includes clock booklets for writing about math, watch craft, math centers, and more!
Save this post for later so you have it when you’re ready to plan your telling time activities!