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Telling Time: First Grade Math Activities

By Tracey Bleakley

Learning to tell time is an important part of the first grade math curriculum. These math activities will get your first grade students excited about telling time.

Most first grade math standards require teaching students to tell time to the hour and half hour, but with these telling time activities you can work on telling time to minute or five minute intervals too. Students need lots of practice and review when learning about telling time. Use these games and activities to practice telling time during your time unit and then after the unit to review the concept.

Numbers on a Clock

Use this easy activity to teach your students about the numbers on a clock and what they mean. Gather the class around you and stretch an 80 inch piece of yarn or string across the floor in a straight line. Write the numbers from 5 to 60 on index cards, counting by fives (5, 10, 15 ... 55, 60). Have the children help you measure four inches from the start and then every six inches on the yarn and mark the intervals with tape. Tape the numbered cards on the yarn so that the bottom of each card touches the string. Then read the number line with the children.

Next write the numbers from 1 to 12 on another set of index cards and tape them under the other cards so that the 1 is under the 5, the 2 is under the 10, etc. Now carefully bring the ends of the yarn together and tie them to make a circle. Arrange the number cards so that the ones with 1 to 12 on them are on the inside of the circle and the others are on the outside. Ask the children what this reminds them of. Discuss how it is like a clock and how the inside numbers represent the hours and the outside ones show the minutes. Use two sentence strips to make the hands of the clock and practice placing them inside the circle to make different times. After your have modeled how the hands move, give the students a chance to place the hands on the "clock" that you have made.

Then have students draw the clock in their math journals and write about the activity.

As a follow up, write the numbers from 5 to 60 on small sticky notes and place them around the numbers on your classroom clock. This will help the students learn how the minute and our numbers correspond and make it easier for them to tell the time. Through out the day look at the clock and have students tell you what time it is.

Activities with Clock Stamps

A blank clock stamp and an ink pad can be a teacher's best friend when teaching young children to tell time. You can purchase one at a teacher supply store and use it for many games and activities.

Make bingo cards by making a nine or twelve square grid and stamping a clock in each box. Then copy the cards onto card stock and draw in the hands to make different times. Write the times on index cards and draw them out of a paper bag to play an easy telling time review game with your students.

Cut a stack of index cards in half and stamp one half of each card with the blank clock. Then draw in the hands and write the digital time on the other half of the cards. Use the cards for a memory or matching game. You can make several sets and place them at a math center or have a game playing day and use the time matching game as one of your activity choices.

You can also use your blank clock stamps to make class books, practice worksheets and other games like "Telling Time Go Fish" or "I have ... Who has ...?"

These telling time activities will make math lots of fun for your first grade students.