# Math, Time and Problem Solving: Breaking Time Apart

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This is one of a series of activities that helps children “break down” numbers. One of the things that I’ve noticed about mathematics curricula is that there is a lot of focus on putting numbers together, but not enough on breaking numbers apart. Perhaps it’s because breaking numbers apart is a lot harder to teach and learn; after all, addition is commutative, and it’s sort of fun, because you get more (except when you’re using negative numbers.) But in order for children to learn how to do things like regroup numbers (think “borrowing”) in every topic that comes up, they will need to learn how to break numbers up.

It’s not only with breaking up hundreds, tens and ones, but also applies to decimals (hundredths, tenths...) and fractions (breaking up one to make additional halves, quarters, etc.) and algebra (breaking up Xs and Ys....) I could go on, but I think you get my point.

So there’s a couple of different activities here to help your students break up time. The first one involves “open ended” problems, as well as a student “DIY” where they write in their own activities and times to add up to a certain amount of time. You’ll notice that I did not include the total number of minutes for some of the longer times, so that students add up their totals on their own.

I also included a second activity which involves students figuring out the “missing time” (along with an answer key. Note that the last puzzle has several answers; they all have to add up to 31 minutes.

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