Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson, Lesson Plan
Lower Primary
  • Analog
  • Cl7Lesson
  • Clock
  • Cluster 7
  • Digital
  • Hour
  • Nearest
  • Tell
  • Time
  • Unit 7
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs

    Education Standards

    T4T Telling Time to the Hour

    T4T Telling Time to the Hour


    This lesson is from Tools4NCTeachers.

    In this lesson, students are introduced to telling time to the hour and are given opportunities to explore the concept using both analog and digital clocks.


    Here is an excerpt from this resoruce.  Click the attachment to download the entire fully-formatted lesson and materials.

    Telling Time to the Hour


    In this lesson, students are introduced to telling time to the hour and are given opportunities to explore the concept.


    NC Mathematics Standard:

    Build understanding of time and money.

    NC.1.MD.3 Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.


    Standards for Mathematical Practice:

    5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

    6. Attend to precision.


    Student Outcomes:

    • I can tell time to the hour on a digital clock.
    • I can tell time to the hour on an analog clock.


    Math Language:

    What words or phrases do I expect students to talk about during this lesson?

                Time, hour, minute, o’clock, past, clockwise, hour hand, minute hand, digital clock,

    analog clock


    • Demonstration clock, student clocks
    • Suggested book: What Time is it Mr. Crocodile by Judy Sierra
    • Activity Sheet A (one copy per 2-3 students)
    • Exit Ticket


    Advance Preparation:

    • Cut out Activity Sheet A cards so there is one set of cards per 2-3 students



    1. What do you know?  What do you wonder?  (10 minutes)


    With a partner, students will organize the digital time cards (Activity Sheet A) in a way that makes sense to them.  Then, allow students to do a quick gallery walk to see if any teams arranged them differently.  If there are different ways of organizing the cards, quickly have groups share.  If they were all arranged 1:00 – 12:00, have a couple of groups share.  Why did you organize them 1:00-12:00?  What do we know about ordering numbers?  How did you use that to help you?  When we look at these digital times, the time has two parts. There is a number, two dots called a colon, and then two zeros.  What part did you use to help you order your numbers?  Why? 


    Gather students to the carpet.  Show student a demonstration analog clock. What do you know about telling time?  When do we use a clock?  When is it important to be able to tell time?  What do you notice about the clock?  How is this clock related to the digital time cards we just organized?  How is this clock different from the times you just organized?


    1. Telling Time to the hour (10-15 minutes)


    Introduce the parts of an analog demonstration clock including the face and hands.  Discuss that when we count we start at 1 and continue, 2, 3, … (move the hour hand as you count together to 12).  On the clock, what number comes after 12?  So, what do you think we say after 12?  The clock only has 12 numbers on the face and the times repeat twice a day.  The hands on the clock always turn in the same direction--clockwise.  Have students trace their finger clockwise in the air.


    Have students begin telling time by only using the hour hand.  When you tell time, you always look at the short/hour hand first.  The short hand tells us the hour.  When the hour hand is on the 12, it is twelve something.  Show that there is a space between the 12 and the 1 (slowly move the hour hand and say in an exaggerated manner.  It hasn’t reached the 1 yet, so it is still 12 something.  No matter where the hour hand is in between those two numbers it is still “twelve something” because it has not reached the next hour to become one.  Move to “one something.”  What time is it when the hour hand is between the 1 and the 2? (one something). 


    Pass out student clocks.  Together go through all the hours as students model on their clocks (“2 something, 3 something,” etc.)  Have students sit with a partner and show their partner “4 something” and “10 something.”  Go out of order, asking them to show the hour on their clock and/or tell you the hour you are showing on your clock.  What hand do we always start with when we tell time?


    Next introduce the minute hand.  After we know what the hour is, we look at the minute hand to tell us how many minutes past the hour it is.  When the minute hand is straight up on the 12 we say that is o’clock.  Show 1:00 on the analog clock.  What is the hour?  So, we know it is one something.  When the minute hand is on the 12 it is exactly on the hour, zero minutes past the hour.  We say it is 1:00.  Write one o’clock on the board.  Have students show 1:00 on their clocks.


    Hold up the cards from Activity Sheet A one by one to show how time is written and is displayed on a digital clock.  The first number(s) to the left of the colon tell the hour and the numbers to the right of the colon tell the minutes.  We read 1:00, as one o’clock.  Go through all the time cards and have students read the times 1:00-12:00.  As you display each time, have students show the time on their clocks.  Mix it up and go out of order also.





    1. Partner Practice (10 minutes)


    Partners can mix up their o’clock times and place them in a pile upside down.  They draw a card and take turns showing the time on their clock and checking to make sure their partner has also shown the correct time.


    Partner A shows a time to the hour on his/her clock.  Partner B finds the matching card that represents the time shown on the clock.  Partners switch roles.


    1. Read Aloud (10-15 minutes)

    Read aloud What Time is it Mr. Crocodile.  As you read, stop after the line “What time is it Mr. Crocodile?” on each page.  Have students locate the clock and determine the time displayed.  What hand do we look at first?  What does it tell us?

    Have students read the time on the list of “Things to Do Tomorrow” and the teacher reads the task.

    • What does Mr. Crocodile do at 9:00? 
    • Is it morning or evening? How do you know?
    • How long does each item take on Mr. Crocodile’s schedule?
    • Can you predict what the time will be on the next page?  Is there a pattern in the story that helped you?  What is the pattern?
    • How can you figure out the time on the clock with Roman Numerals using what you know about clocks?
    • How is a sundial different than an analog clock?  How is it the same?  How does it work?  Could you have a sundial in the house to tell time?  Why or why not?  Which do you think was invented first, the sundial or the analog clock?
    • How can it be 12:00 on the last page, when it was already 12:00 when they went to town?  What is another word for 12:00 in the morning?  What is another word for 12:00 in the afternoon? 


    Additional Activities (if needed)

    1. Writing about Math (15 minutes)

    Activity Sheet B


    1. When transitioning to new activities, point to the daily schedule and ask:
      • What is the hour?  Have students look at the classroom clock.  What number is the hour hand on or what number is the hour hand between? 


    Evaluation of Student Understanding


    Formal Evaluation/Exit Ticket:

    Make the digital and analog clocks match.  


    Make the digital and analog clocks match.







    Model that the hands of the clock come from the center of the clock face and point out towards the numbers. Remind students to make sure that the hour hand is shorter than the minute hand when they are drawing the hands on a clock.


    Meeting the Needs of the Range of Learners


    • For students who confuse the two hands, provide practice using clocks with only one hand, either the hour or minute, before having them practice telling time with both hands on a clock.


    • Words with multiple meanings are difficult for students, especially English language learners.  Match pictures to words for hands (noun: body part, clock part, verb: to give someone something) and face (noun: person’s face, face of a solid shape, verb: to face the board).



    • During partner practice, Partner A draws a card and shows the time on his/her clock.  Partner B shows what the time will be in one hour. 



    • Have students use the posted classroom schedule to play a matching game.  Partner A looks at the schedule and chooses a time to show on his clock.  Ex: music at 10:15 (partner A can show the hour 10:00) Partner B determines which daily activity occurs during that hour. 


    Possible Misconceptions/Suggestions:

    Possible Misconceptions


    Students confuse the hour and the minute hands.


    Work with only the hour hand until students are comfortable identifying the hour.

    When the hour hand is between two hours, students choose the next hour.

    When working with the hour hand, use the phrase, “It is one ‘something’ until it reaches the two.”














    Activity Sheet A