It’s tough to make a case for the analog clock in our digital world. I’ll leave the debate of its relevance up to the professionals. Nonetheless, the analog clock remains a staple in the majority of math curriculums.

Let’s take the following standard for example:

MCC2.MD.7 – Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.

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One could say that this standard applied to a digital clock inadvertently supports the work of rounding in 3rd grade.  8:04 is nearest to 8:05.

But in the same breath, I can hear the conversations taking place when students try to apply the same understanding to the analogue clock.

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“Which one is the minute hand? The long one is the hour right? No wait. Which one is the hour hand?”

What if we asked students to estimate the time with the hour hand and completely ignore the minute hand? Then, once they own the estimation of time using the hour hand we introduce the precision of time using the minute hand?

This is not a new idea and I’m definitely not the genius that thought of it. Patricia Smith and John Van de Walle have both tackled the issue of time well before this post.  I just figure the more that know the better.

So let’s give it a try…About what time is it?

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Time we go to specials.

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Recess time.

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Time to go home.

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Bed time.

A friend in my district reminded me of a conversation we had last year about using a one handed clock and it’s almost that time of year for 2nd and 3rd grade.

Share these pictures with your class and ask “What do you notice?”  Turn them into some kind of Time Talk and report back. I’d love to hear how it goes.

Does EVERY student need this clock? Not at all. It’s just another way to make learning accessible.  Remember what Dan said “You can always add to a lesson, you can’t subtract.

The same applies for clocks as well.