Giving children ownership – “How could you learn about telling the time?”

This week the children have been learning to tell the time. We began our learning by exploring what the children already knew through making clocks together and discussing the basics of what they knew. The first lesson was a really good lesson to extend collaboration, problem-solving and “getting unstuck” skills. All of the children had to come to the end of the lesson with a clock with moving hands. They listened to each other’s ideas, made mistakes and thought about how to improve their learning. For example, some children put the numbers in the wrong place on their clocks. A few children came up with ingenious ways to edit their mistakes; for example by using masking tape or white stickers. Other children made hands that didn’t move independently of one another – to get unstuck, they asked their friends how to solve the problem and mimicked their ideas. The activity was also open-ended – for some children it was enough of a challenge to get their numbers in the right place and make some hands with the help of their friends; others looked carefully at the details of the clock and added 5 minute intervals on their clocks and made links between dividing the clock into quarters and quarter to and quarter past.

Now came the exciting bit – now we have made clocks, how can we use them to learn how to tell the time? The children came up with some fantastic ideas. Some wanted to play, “What’s the Time Mr Wolf?” And we used this to learn about o’clock and half past. Others played games with a partner to guess and find the time. One group came up with the game “Clock Frisbee”, which involved one person holding a clock and throwing the frisbee to another player, challenging them to find a time on the clock. My favourite game will be used in a problem solving lesson next week and came from a Year Two girl named Elizabeth. We named the game “Time Spies”. Here are the rules for Time Spies:

1) The Time Chief holds a clock facing towards them and makes a time on the clock whilst the other players have their clocks or a notebook ready to solve a problem.

2) The Time Chief gives the other players clues as to what time is on their clock. E.g

“The big hand is a quarter turn around the clock, clockwise. The small hand is pointing to a number which is half of 12.”

3) The other players then use their clocks or notepads to work out the time (which is quarter past 6 if you haven’t worked it out yet!)

Genius! I would never have come up with such a brilliant game. We are going to use this to stretch our problem solving skills next week. Thanks for the brilliant lesson idea Elizabeth!

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