- Third Grade
- 65 minutes
Help your students learn how long a minute is with this lesson that shows them how the length of a minute can appear to change depending on the activity, all while putting their time estimation skills to the test.
Students will understand how long a minute is.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Tell the students that today they are going to learn how we measure time.
- Ask students to brainstorm measurements of time.
- Record their responses on the board. Students might mention words like day, month, year, hour, week, second, minute, decade, and century.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Explain that the 24 hour day dates back to early Egyptian times.
- Help students understand that a day is 24 hours, an hour is 60 minutes, and one minute is 60 seconds.
- Tell students that though we generally think of a minute today as a TV commercial or a common expression, like got a minute?, just a minute!, or in a minute, we often don't actually mean exactly 60 seconds.
- Ask students if they think they know how long a minute is.
- Have students place their heads on their desks. Say "Go" and then use a clock, watch, or stopwatch to measure exactly one minute.
- Tell students that when they think one minute is up, they should quietly raise their hands without looking up.
- At the end of the activity, identify those students who raised their hands closest to the 60 second mark.
- Discuss what it felt like, or how long it felt like, with your students.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (20 minutes)
- Have students repeat the activity in pairs or groups of three.
- Have each student take several turns and record the results.
- Tell students to mark down how many actual seconds had passed when each student indicated a minute was up.
- Ask your students Which student seemed to have the best concept of a minute.
- To allow students to keep time without using timers, feel free to project an online clock, such as the Industrious Clock.
- Have the students see how many times they can write their name in one minute.
- You could also give students the 1 Minute Multiplication worksheet to try to complete in one minute.
Independent Working Time (5 minutes)
- Ask students to write a couple of statements describing what they learned from the activities about the length of a minute in their math journals. Give students one minute to think of a statement and one minute to write it down.
- Some students might point out that a minute seems to go quickly some times, like when racing to complete a math facts test, and more slowly at other times, like when standing on one foot.
- Others might note that they learned that a lot can be accomplished in a minute, and that a minute can be a valuable unit of time.
- Tell students that on their eighth birthday, they were over 4 million minutes old! Ask students for a couple of their birthdays and figure out exactly how many minutes old they are to show the students how many minutes they have already lived.
- Enrichment: Have advanced students create a chart of equivalent times in their journal that you discussed earlier in the lesson.
- Support: For struggling students, prompt their journal entry and give them the equivalent chart to glue into their journal.
Related Books and/or Media
- WORKSHEET: Time Trial
Assessment (10 minutes)
- Monitor students to determine who has the idea of a minute and who is still struggling.
- Read students' journal entries to determine what they have learned about a minute.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Show Counting Every Minute.
- Discuss what students learned about one minute today.