T4T What Time is it, Mr. Crocodile?

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Lesson Excerpt:

Common Core Standards:

Work with time and money

NC.2.MD.7 Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.


Standards for Mathematical Practice:

4.   Model with mathematics.

6.   Attend to precision.


Student Outcomes:

  • I can move the minute hand on the clock in five minute increments and say what time I am standing on.

  • I can show the time on an analog clock when someone tells me the time in five minute increments.



  • The book What Time is It, Mr. Crocodile? by Judy Sierra

  • Numbers 1-12 on individual 5x7 index cards—one number per card.

  • Numbers 1-5, 6-10, etc… on 3x5 index cards with the numbers 5, 10, 15, 20 etc. being in a different color than the other numbers

  • red paper

  • green paper

  • individual clocks

  • hundreds board (for students having trouble counting by 5’s)


Advance Preparation:

  • Arrange the index cards in a large clock pattern, with the numbers on the 3x5 index cards arranged inside the clock circle.

  • Prior to this lesson, students should be familiar with the clock and the function of the hour hand. This game introduces students to 5 minute increments on an analog clock and can be played using the minute and hour hand together.



1.   Read the book, What Time is it Mr. Crocodile to the class and discuss as a whole group.

2.   To start the game off the teacher is the Crocodile. The students will partner up.

3.   The students choose a five minute number on the face of the clock to stand by.

4.   The Crocodile says a time, and the students have to move that number of 5 minute interval steps from their place to the time that the Crocodile calls out. (For example, if the Crocodile says 15 minutes, then all the students move 15 minutes from where they are standing.) The Crocodile holds up a green card, so the students know it is time to move to their next interval. Before the Crocodile holds up the green card, she/he allows the students thinking time.

5.   Next, the Crocodile holds up a red card and the students need to stop. They turn to their partner and tell their partner what time it is in minutes. The partner can tell them their response is correct or to think again. If the time is incorrect, she/he can move one more time.  

6.   The partners switch roles. Steps 2-5 repeated. 

7.   This goes on for several times. The students that show understanding of the passing of
5 minute intervals then sit around the large clock with an individual clock. The students that are sitting will show the Crocodile the minutes moved on their clock, as the students that need more time to practice can use the larger clock.

8.   Select an assessment task aligned to NC.2.MD.7 to ensure that their skills are transferring beyond the game.


Questions to Pose:


What do you need to know to be able to read an analog clock?

Why is it important to be able to tell time?

We already know how to tell time to the (hour, half hour, quarter hour). When is it important to be able to tell time to the nearest 5 minutes?



How many groups of 5 did you move?

How many minutes are there between each number on the large index card?

Do you agree or disagree with _______?



What mistakes did you or other students make and what can we do to avoid them?

How many minutes are on the clock if you go all the way around?

What did you notice when you arrived at 60?

How can you show the thinking you used to tell time on your analog clock?

Why is important to know how to tell time?


Possible Misconceptions/Suggestions:

Possible Misconceptions


Students may not accurately count by 5s from a given number.

Provide students with 100s boards to follow along and to check themselves and each other.

The students may go counter-clockwise.

The teacher may need to re-teach the movement of the hour hand and can label the large clock and any others with arrows or other reminders.


Special Notes:

Telling time is a very abstract concept and this task helps students to see how a clock works in a concrete way but allows students to understand the function of each hand before putting the two hands together to tell time.




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