Did you know the first clocks were made in the fourteenth century and had only one hand - an hour hand? This activity is a great way to teach children about telling the time - by changing the way we think about the hour and minute hands. Instead of thinking about the hour hand as 'pointing to' and 'saying the number' focus on the hour hand as the only one that needs to exist for us to get an estimate of the time.
Ask students what they think the time is:
- When the hour hand is pointing at the 3 (about 3 o'clock)
- What is the time when the hand is between the 3 and 4 (half-way between 3 and 4)
- What is the time when the hand is nearer to the 4 (almost 4)
Using language like 'a bit past 3' and 'almost 4' can help students to grasp the concepts of o'clock, half-past, quarter-to and quarter-past without getting confused by the position of the minute hand. The minute hand can be introduced after students grasp the general concept of the clock's movement - the minute hand is there only to give us more accuracy. The large version of the clock worksheet can be printed out on cardboard and is helpful for using as a class demonstration piece or kept as a whole class reference for students to access when they need a reminder.