Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Time
Category : Uncategorized
Dear Family, listed below are some practical suggestions as to how you might support your children’s understanding of the maths topic of time. Also below, are a series of links to digital resources that will help both the children, and you, learn more about time. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level.
Practical Suggestions for all Children
- Difficult Topic? Although time plays a very important role in everybody’s life, it can be quite a difficult concept to grasp:
- Unlike our number system, time is not built around a base-ten system. All of the other maths topics in measures (i.e. money, weight, capacity and length) are all built around units of ten, one hundred, one thousand and so on e.g. 100 c in €1; 1,000m in 1 km etc. But time is totally different: 60 seconds in a minute; 60 minutes in an hour; 24 hours in day; 7 days in a week; 4 and a bit weeks in each month; 12 months in a year etc.
- While we can’t see or touch time, we have ways to record and show it, but again, there are many different ways to do this: sand timers, sun dials, analogue clocks and watches, digital watches and displays (which can be either 12 or 24 hour), calendars etc.
- Time is not the same all around the world; each country belongs to a time zone and the time is different in each time zone.
- Judging how much time has passed can be quite difficult as we all have experienced how time can drag, or it can fly when having fun.
- Talk about time all the time! When you wake up your child in the morning, (or he/she wakes you!) announce the time and day; how many school days left before the weekend; how long before you need to leave the house; the start time for the sport practice or music lesson; dinner time etc. Give your child a set amount of time to complete a task or chore. Try to become a type of talking clock yourself, constantly announcing the time of day and the time left/needed to do something. This will help develop your child’s own internal sense of time.
- What are we doing today? Involve your child in planning trips, visits and outings: what time do we need to leave to arrive there on time; what time do we need to get up at? How long is it going to take you to get ready? Highlight the importance of punctuality and being on time as a valuable life skill: we need to leave the house at 20 to 9 if we are going to get to the school for 9, etc.
- Lots of clocks! Try to have plenty of time devices around your home, and of different types, for your child to become familiar with the many different ways to measure time. It is never too soon to have a clock in your child’s own room and/or for them to wear their own watch; however, first clocks and watches should be of the analogue type (i.e. with hands and a face) rather than digital. Even if your child is not able to read the time on the analogue clock face yet, noticing and becoming aware of the movement of the hands and their direction (clockwise) helps develop your child’s sense of the passage of time, a valuable learning experience that will be built upon when ready.
- Buying a clock: While children need to be flexible, and to be able to tell time using a variety of different time devices, if you decide to buy a first clock or watch for your child, there are some clock features you should consider before you buy (click here to see some suitable examples):
- All the numbers 1-12 (not roman numerals) shown clearly.
- Minute intervals (i.e. little lines) shown clearly around the edge of the face.
- A minute hand that is long enough to show that it is pointing beyond the numbers (which mark the hours) out to the minutes around the edge (the purpose of the long minute hand is to point out to the minutes).
- Hour is key: When your child asks “what time is it?” ask them to try to work out what the time is roughly for themselves. When looking at an analogue clock, they should always look first at the short hour hand: which number is it pointing to (or closest to)? Then, that is the (nearest) hour. The minute hand only helps us refine that approximate time. When looking at an digital display, they should always look at the first digit; that is the hour that it was last. This is another example of why analogue is better than digital: it is possible to gauge the actual time more accurately using only the hour hand on an analogue clock, than using only the hour on a digital display.
- Mark the date: Have calendars and/or weekly charts/diaries visible around your home. Use the calendar to mark events that would be important to your child, like birthdays, holidays, Christmas, school concert etc. Involve your child: if there is space available to do so, he/she can mark these important dates using words and/or pictures. Also try to have calendars that start with Monday, since Monday is officially the first day of the week (read on here for more interesting info on this). On weekly charts, mark repeat events like sports practices, lessons etc.
- Dot, dot NOT dot! When writing or texting a time in digital format (e.g. See you at 6:30) always use a colon (two dots) rather than a single dot (i.e. don’t write 6.30). Firstly, a colon is what is used most often on actual digital displays. Secondly, a dot is identical to a decimal point (e.g. 2.5 meaning 2 and a half or the decimal point used when writing money e.g. €1.20) which, mathematically, is used with numbers on the base-ten system. And time, as we said earlier, does not work on a base-ten system. So using a single dot for writing time, may only confuse children.
- 24 hour & 12 hour: For the older children, draw their attention to 24 hour time and encourage them to translate 24 hour to 12 hour with a.m. or p.m. and vice versa. Most phones, devices and smart watches have the option to display either version, so perhaps set these to 24 hour time to provide your child with more opportunities to become familiar with it.
- When is it on? When does it leave? Highlight also any timetables and schedules that the household might use, or refer to, for example TV listings on an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), cinema timetables, transport timetables (e.g. bus and train), flight arrival and departure times. In the case of an upcoming flight for a family vacation, encourage the children to identify the arrival and departure times and to use this information to calculate flight time. If there appears to be a difference between the outgoing and incoming flight times, can the child explain this, i.e. does he/she notice that flight arrival and departure times are always given as local time and that the destination may be in a different time zone?
Digital Resources for Infants
NB: By the end of senior infants, children are expected to be able to tell time to the nearest hour.
BBC Bitesize – Time: Nice images and a song to explore the structure of the typical day for a young child.
Telling the time in words: Look at the clock and find the matching time in words. 5 different levels: reading time to the nearest hour, half hour, quarter hour, five minutes or minute, which can be played as timed or untimed games.
Telling the time: Read the time on an analogue clock. Lots of choice over levels, including: reading time to the nearest hour, half hour, quarter hour, five minutes or minute. Options include using a 24 hour clock and seeing how many correct answers you can get in a given time.
Time: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)
Digital Resources for First and Second Classes
NB: By the end of second class, children are expected to be able to tell time to quarter hour intervals.
Khan Academy – Time: Watch the video to learn about time and then answer the practice questions. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other areas of Early Math.
Let’s make a Calendar: From Starfall, this builds an interactive calendar for the current month and asks questions. NB: This is a US site so the calendar starts with Sunday, not Monday and includes the US holidays and feasts.
Using a calendar: From Maths Frame, 3 levels of questions about the current month. Start on level 1 and move up a level when confident.
Calendar Quiz: From Soft Schools, this quiz has 3 levels with 5 questions in each.
Calendar Clowns: Answer a host of questions based on the calendar given.
Telling the time in words: Look at the clock and find the matching time in words. 5 different levels: reading time to the nearest hour, half hour, quarter hour, five minutes or minute, which can be played as timed or untimed games.
Telling the time: Read the time on an analogue clock. Lots of choice over levels, including: reading time to the nearest hour, half hour, quarter hour, five minutes or minute. Options include using a 24 hour clock and seeing how many correct answers you can get in a given time.
Time Tools: Match analogue and digital times, on the hour and half hour. Click on start to learn more about time (tell me more tab), telling time to any minute interval and to try out other challenges and games (other tabs along top).
Time Matcher: Memory game where you match equivalent amounts of time eg 1 week, 7 days etc
Time Teller: Tell the time game with 6 different levels, from half hour to minute intervals, and solving elapsed time problems in hours and/or minutes.
Adding Time Problems: Quiz game where you’ve to read the problems and work out the answer. Lots of options and levels.
Hickory, Dickory, Clock: Read the time at the bottom of the screen and chose the matching clock. Three levels available.
That Quiz – Time: This quiz has lots of options, on the left hand side, that can be changed to suit the ability of the child. Ensure that the level is set to 1. Each time do the set 10 questions, if you get 10 or 9 correct go up a level, if not stay at that level. There are lots of different types of activities: For Simple clock (it automatically starts on this) you must type in the digital time; if you set it to Time passed you must identify the amount of elapsed time from first to second time; other options are arithmetic and conversions, which includes time zones for 5th and 6th.
Time: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)
Digital Resources for Third to Sixth Classes
Time: Background information on money from Maths is Fun, including Analog and Digital Clock Animation, Time: AM/PM and 24 Hour Clock, Adding and Subtracting Time and World Time Zones
Khan Academy – Time: A unit of work exploring time, including how to read time to minute intervals, time on a number line and elapsed time. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other areas and/or try more difficult material.
Elapsed time number lines: A video from the Avery Bunch, showing how Marshall and Amanda solve elapsed time problems using number lines.
Using a calendar: From Maths Frame, 3 levels of questions about the current month. Start on level 1 and move up a level when confident.
Calendar Quiz: From Soft Schools, this quiz has 3 levels with 5 questions in each.
Calendar Clowns: Answer a host of questions based on the calendar given.
Telling the time in words: Look at the clock and find the matching time in words. 5 different levels: reading time to the nearest hour, half hour, quarter hour, five minutes or minute, which can be played as timed or untimed games.
Telling the time: Read the time on an analogue clock. Lots of choice over levels, including: reading time to the nearest hour, half hour, quarter hour, five minutes or minute. Options include using a 24 hour clock and seeing how many correct answers you can get in a given time.
Time Tools: Match analogue and digital times, on the hour and half hour. Click on start to learn more about time (tell me more tab), telling time to any minute interval and to try out other challenges and games (other tabs along top).
Hickory, Dickory, Clock: Read the time at the bottom of the screen and chose the matching clock. Three levels available.
Time Matcher: Memory game where you match equivalent amounts of time eg 1 week, 7 days etc
Time Teller: Tell the time game with 6 different levels, from half hour to minute intervals, and solving elapsed time problems in hours and/or minutes.
Adding Time Problems: Quiz game where you’ve to read the problems and work out the answer. Lots of options and levels.
Find the start time: Quiz game where you’ve to read the problems and work backwards to identify the correct start time. Lots of options and levels.
That Quiz – Time: This quiz has lots of options, on the left hand side, that can be changed to suit the ability of the child. Ensure that the level is set to 1. Each time do the set 10 questions, if you get 10 or 9 correct go up a level, if not stay at that level. There are lots of different types of activities: For Simple clock (it automatically starts on this) you must type in the digital time; if you set it to Time passed you must identify the amount of elapsed time from first to second time; other options are arithmetic and conversions, which includes time zones for 5th and 6th.
Time: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)