Telling the time


Who would have thought that telling the time could be so much fun and a riveting topic of conversation?!

Two summers ago, grandson was promised a watch, if he could learn to tell the time. Well, he did, sort of, but two years later, we are still talking about the time. We’ve just missed a bus and the next one is in thirteen minutes, what will the time be? If the cake is cooked in twenty minutes, what time will it be? If we have to wait a quarter of an hour for it to cool, when can we eat it? And so on.

Kids are used to working in base ten,  but asking them to work in base sixty and in units of five is another thing altogether. Quarters are fifteen minutes long. There is five minutes between each number on the clock. How can forty-four minutes past ten also be sixteen minutes to eleven? Quarter past or quarter to? How can fifteen o’clock also be three o’clock? Lots to think about.

And then there’s clock watching. I spent part of one morning clock watching the secondhand with grandkids. “Tick, tick, tick, tick, five, tick, tick, tick, tick, ten, tick … ” When we got to sixty, the long hand had moved one space and we started again – for twenty minutes! At eleven o’clock, they were rewarded with crisps, biscuits and a drink.

Working with the oldest grandchildren, the younger ones overhear and try to join in. Will learning to tell the time be any easier for them? Who knows?

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