Clock Puzzlers reasoning about clocks and time task cards + printables set

Grade Levels
1st, 2nd, 3rd
Common Core Standards
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Help build your students’ ability to reason about clocks and time to the nearest five minutes with this rigorous set of problem-based task cards and printables. The 32 task cards will provide your students with the necessary practice to build their ability to apply their understanding of clocks and time and truly flex their cognitive muscles. Extend your students’ practice (or assess their level of mastery) with the six included assessment activities. With this set of print-and-go resources, your students will grow stronger in their understanding of reading clocks and reasoning about time.


Common Core State Standards for Mathematics addressed:
Measurement and Data (2.MD)
• Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m. (2.MD.7)


• 3 graphic reference sheets
• 32 task cards
• 8 self-checking “answer cards”
• task card answer sheet and key
• 6 assessment activities and keys

About the Cards

This set was designed to provide students practice with telling time (a skill that is notoriously difficult for some students to master) in a way that will build their ability to reason about clocks and time relationships. Cards feature both analog and digital clocks, and all of the times on the cards involve five-minute intervals. The variety of the problems on the cards will build your students’ flexibility and offer opportunities for your students to make sense of problems and persevere when solving them, the first of the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice.

These cards require students to do more than simply identify the time on a given clock. They are designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of clocks and time. Some cards present students with clock faces that only have hour hands and ask them to reason what the time most likely would be. Other cards present students with two clocks – analog and digital or two analogs – and ask students to identify times that would fall between the times on the two clocks. Some cards show a digital display with one of the digits missing and ask the students to find an analog clock that shows a time that could match the time on the incomplete digital display. This set of cards was developed with rigor in mind and will provide a high level of challenge for all of your learners.

All of the cards are multiple choice, some with two choices and some with four choices. Among the multiple choice cards, some cards have problems that have one correct answer and others have problems where there is more than one answer. For these, the students have to choose all of the correct responses. These “multiple correct answer” problems are identified by phrases such as “select all that apply” or “identify all of the times…”. I opted to include these types of questions on the cards because of the growing prevalence of such questions on standardized tests, such as NWEA’s MAP assessment, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced, and I have seen first hand how difficult it is for kids to break out of the mindset of there being one correct answer. If your students have not had exposure to these types of questions, it would be helpful to make sure that they understand that if a question states to select all that apply, that there might be more than one correct answer, and they should check each choice to see if it is correct or incorrect.

Using the Cards

Since the cards were designed so that each set of four cards (e.g., cards 1-4, cards 17-20) feature similar problem types, you can use this organizational structure to differentiate based on your students’ levels of proficiency with the target concept. Decide which set of four cards you want your students to work with and then:

1) have your students work through all four at a time while you circulate and provide guided support;
2) work through the first card together and then have students use the other three as paired or independent practice.;
3) have your more able students complete the cards on their own while you provide guidance to a small group; or,
4) have students work in pairs to complete the first two and then complete the other two on their own.

Beyond the suggestions above, there are lots of ways in which you can implement the task cards. You can have the students work on them independently, working through the task cards on their own. The students can work on them in pairs or small groups, completing all the task cards in one session. You can use them in centers, having the students complete 6-8 task cards a day over the course of the week. You can even use them as a variation of “problem of the day”, giving each student 1 sheet of 4 cards to glue in their journals and solve, one sheet per day for eight days.

Reinforcing and Assessing Understanding

The printables consist of three graphic reference sheets and six different one-page assessment activities. The first graphic reference sheet is a full page and demonstrates how to tell time to the nearest five minutes. The second, half-page reference sheet was designed to prompt students to consider how the location of the hour hand changes as time moves forward, with the hour hand beginning nearer to the number that names the current hour and gradually moving closer to the number that represents the next hour. The third reference sheet is a full page and focuses on the change from a.m. times to p.m. times and vice versa. All three sheets contain multiple open-ended questions, designed to stimulate classroom discussions about telling time. In addition, your students can use the journal inserts as guides while they work on the cards, as well as when they complete other tasks that relate to reading clocks and telling time.

The six provided assessment activities can be used to evaluate your students’ ability to reason about time. The sheets contain questions similar to those on the cards, and so can easily be used as pre/post assessments in conjunction with the cards. The six sheets have been designed as three pairs of similarly formatted assessment. Activity sheets A & B have similar question types, but use different numbers. Activities C & D and E & F have been designed the same way. While these activity sheets can be used as assessments, you can use them in any number of ways – homework, paired practice, center assignments, or any other purpose that fits your teaching style or classroom routines.

For more practice with measurement and number relationships, please check out the other related resources I have available –

Line 'Em Up reasoning about number lines task cards + printables (set a)

Coin Puzzlers - problem solving with money less than $1 task cards & printables

Snow Bonds: +, –, x, ÷ number relationships task cards + printables (set a)

Self-Checking Math Riddles – Reasonableness of Sums/Differences

Self-Checking Math Riddles – Rounding to the Nearest 10 and 100

I hope your students enjoy these resources and are able to build their proficiency with time and problem solving. – Dennis McDonald
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Clock Puzzlers reasoning about clocks and time task cards
Clock Puzzlers reasoning about clocks and time task cards
Clock Puzzlers reasoning about clocks and time task cards
Clock Puzzlers reasoning about clocks and time task cards