Friday, April 24, 2015

Mathematician Detectives: Discovering Clocks & Time

I had the BEST math lesson the other day and I had to share it with you! After 5 years of teaching, I finally found the most engaging way to introduce the concept of the clock to my students. I even incorporated a bit of number sense, counting, and fractions into the lesson! Sneaky, Sneaky!

So my students became DETECTIVES during our math hour. I didn't tell them that they would be learning about clocks, I simply started the lesson by telling them that the would uncover a special math tool that we use everyday! To discover the math tool they received a series of clues that led to constructing a clock out of paper, string, and snap cubes.

Here is any example of a detective envelope:
So through the series of step by step clues they started to uncover that the math tool they were discovering was round, had something to do with the number 60, and could be divided into fourths like a pizza! We also got to review skip counting by fives to make sure we evenly placed the numbers around our clocks! :) Wooooo were our math brains working!
So after being "Kid Tested and Teacher Approved" I made a few tweaks and got this downloadable PDF ready for you! I have added a "Detective Challenge Contract" to support collaboration in teams and to help students recognize that they are working together as a group rather than individually.  I have also differentiated clue cards into three groups:
  • Set A: Student examine the clock by hour and half hour
  • Set B: Students examine the clock by quarter hours
  • Set C: Students examine the clock by 5 minute increments 
So based on the abilities and needs of your students you can have the class complete the same clue cards or put students into different groups to complete a certain set of clue cards.

We completed this activity during our one hour math block and all students worked in teams of 4 during the whole hour. However, you could also put together a detective envelope for a center if you do guided math.  We usually do guided math, but this certain day I decided to mix it up a bit and not do our normal guided math centers. My students ended math by saying "WHAT?!?! Math is over already?" because they were so engaged the whole time. Math flew by the day we were detectives! I used this as an introduction to clocks but you can also use it as a review at the end of the school year because it does touch on counting, skip counting, fractions, geometry, and measurement. I would love to hear how you end up using it, so please feel free to leave me a comment below! :)



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Happy Teaching!



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