Lesson plan

Rock Around the Clock

Get your students excited about telling time with this engaging lesson. Students will practice identifying intervals on an analog clock, and use this knowledge to tell time in 5 minute intervals.
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  • Students will tell time to the nearest five minutes and learn relationships between time elements.
  • Students will create and use pictures, manipulatives, models, and symbols to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas.
(30 minutes)
  • Gather the class on the carpet in a circle. Give your students analog clocks and have them sit next to it on the floor.
  • Tell the students that they will listen to a book called the The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle.
  • Explain that in the book, the ladybug meets many animals. Your class will be helping their stories come to life.
  • Place the 16 animal cards in the center of the circle and have each person take one.
  • Tell the class to listen carefully as you read. As each animal is addressed in the book, the child with that animal's card must move to the center of the circle and act as the author describes. This acting includes movement and sound. After their scenes, they will return to their spots in the circle. Students are also asked to show the times on their individual clocks as the time appears during the story.
  • Model an example using an animal NOT mentioned in the story, such as a giraffe. Demonstrate how a giraffe might move and how its neck would be straight and upright. Students will not be shown the pictures in the book so they will have to visualize for themselves how the scene should look.
  • Read the story to the class. Pause occasionally and to ask questions that compare times. One example: How much time has passed from when the ladybug met the beetle, at 7:00, until she met the lobster, at 10:00?
(30 minutes)
  • Once the story has finished, explain that the class will be working on telling time to 5 minute intervals. The goal is for students to be able to use analog clocks to show the clock times mentioned in the story.
  • Hold up the demonstration analog clock, explaining that this kind of clock uses hands, or markers, to show you the time.
  • Use a demonstration clock to remind students that one hour is equal to 60 minutes. Slowly move the minute hand around the clock while counting minute by minute, putting emphasis on each multiple of 5.
  • Ask students to join you in counting around the clock. Explain that there are 5 minutes between each number on the clock.
  • Spread the floor clocks and out on the ground.
  • Give each student a colored clothespin. Divide the class into thirds and put approximately one third of them at each clock.
(15 minutes)
  • Set up the CD or mp3 player. It should be ready to play Rock Around the Clock.
  • Tell students that when they hear the music playing, they should move around the clock like one of the animals from the The Grouchy Ladybug. When the music stops, they should stop on a number.
  • When the stop, you will say "The hour is ____.” Students will look at where they are and determine how many minutes they are past the hour given. Tell the students to pretend they are the minute hand.
  • Each group, based on the color of clothespins, will take a turn with the clock.
  • When the music stops, the students must reply to your hour prompt with the correct time. For example: You would say, "The hour is 6:00." The student standing on the 3 would reply, "It is 6:15."
  • While students are actively figuring out their times, model how to count by fives when physically moving number to number.
(15 minutes)
  • After everyone has given the time, start the music again and follow the same procedure. The colors are used so that everyone gets a turn, but not all at the same time.
  • Students should continue to play until everyone has had several turns to tell time. Others must listen carefully to make sure they agree with the person telling time.
  • Assist students when needed. For example, students who are unsure can start at the 12 and walk around the clock counting by fives to help them determine the number of minutes past the hour.
  • Enrichment: Students who need a greater challenge can work on filling out the My Schedule attachment.
  • Support: Students who are having trouble may need to walk around the clock starting at 12 and count by fives. If they have trouble counting by fives, then others in their group can assist.
  • ESL: Second-language learners will benefit from the picture cards used at the beginning of the lesson. Each picture card has the animal’s name on it. This helps to increase the students’ awareness of the words, their spelling, and their meanings.
(30 minutes)
  • During the story, observe students’ movements as they portray their animals. Look for movements that represent the students’ understanding of the animal as well as what is happening in the story.
  • Observe students’ individual clocks as they set them to show the times mentioned in the book. Make note of students who seem to have trouble so that you can work with them individually at a later time.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students: Why is it important to be able to tell time?
  • Explain that being able to tell time is an important skill. Raise the question of what might happen if students can't tell time.
  • Finally, review how to count by fives.

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