Reading and Telling Time (A.M. & P.M.)

Learning how to tell time to the nearest 5 and differentiate between a.m. and p.m. is a second grade, Common Core skill: 2.MD.7. Below we show two videos that demonstrate this standard. Then, we provide a breakdown of the specific steps in the videos to help you teach your class.

Prior Learnings

Your students will have learned how to measure objects through non-standard units, like using paperclips to measure a pencil (1.MD.1). They should also be able to compare objects using terms like longer, shorter, longest, and shortest (1.MD.2). 

Future Learnings

In the future, understanding how to measure objects with a ruler will help your students expand on and apply the concept elsewhere. Students will be able to make a line plot, measure objects, and place those measurements on the plot (2.MD.9). Your students will also be able to use rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch (3.MD.3) and apply “linear measurement to measure perimeter and area” (3.MD.5- 8).

Common Core Standard: 2.MD.7 - Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.

Students who understand this principle can:

  1. Explain the difference between a.m. and p.m., identifying activities appropriate for both.
  2. Read or say the time on a digital or analog clock (to the nearest 5).
  3. Translate time from an analog clock to a digital clock (& vice-versa), and draw the appropriate hands on an analog clock (to the nearest 5).
  4. Write and draw the time to the nearest 5, appropriately placing the hands on an analog clock when verbally told the time. 
  5. Use appropriate time-language when telling time (e.g. half past, quarter after/past, quarter to, minutes after/past and minutes).

2 Videos to Help You Teach Common Core Standard: 2.MD.7

Below we provide and breakdown two videos to help you teach your students this standard.

Video 1: How to Tell Time to the Nearest 5

 The starts by explaining that to tell time on an analog clock, one needs to know where the hour hand and the minute hand point. 

  1. The hour hand is the short hand.
  2. It shows which hour of the day it is.

The video then has students identify which hour the hand points at:

  1. The hour hand points at the number 1.
  2. So it is 1 o’clock.
  3. The hour hand moves to 5, so it is 5 o’clock. 

Then the video discusses the minute hand.

  1. The minute hand is the long hand.
  2. There are 60 minutes in an hour.
  3. Each large number on the clock is a group of 5 minutes.
  4. Skip counting by 5 can show how many minutes past the hour it is.

The video then has students practice skip counting:

  1. The minute hand points to 4.
  2. The 4 equals 20 minutes past the hour.

Next, the video combines the hour and the minute hand, showing students how to read both together.

  1. The hour hand points after 9.
  2. The minute hand points at 6.
  3. Skip counting by 5 reveals that 6 is 30 minutes.
  4. So the time is 9:30.

The video then discusses digital clocks, which are much easier to read.

  1. The first 2 digits indicate the hour.
  2. Then there is a colon (:).
  3. The second 2 digits indicate the minutes.
  4. The 24 hour day is divided into halves.
    a. If it’s before noon, we say a.m.
    b. If it’s after noon, we say p.m.

Video 2: Reading Time and Determining AM and PM

The video begins by reviewing how to tell time, using a digital and analog clock.

  1. To read a digital clock, simply read the two numbers separated by the colon (:).
  2. The example clock reads 8:30 –eight thirty.
  3. If a digital clock reads 8:00, we say eight o’clock (not eight zero zero).

Boddle then offers some practice problems for students to match times to the correct digital clock.

  1. 3:05 = Three o’five
  2. 11:45 = Eleven forty-five
  3. 5:20 = Five twenty
  4. 9:15 = Nine fifteen

Next, Boddle reviews how to tell time using an analog clock.

  1. analog clocks have two hands.
  2. The hour hand is the short one, and the minute hand is the long one.
  3. If the minute hand points at 12, it means zero minutes or o’clock.
  4. Each little line means 1 minute.
  5. The numbers that represent hours are spaced every 5 minutes.
  6. So if the minute hand points to 4, it’s the same as 5 minutes 4 times (20 mins).
  7. If the hour hand is not pointing at a number, use the number it’s just passed.

Boddle then offers practice problems for students to match the correct time to the analog clock. Boddle explains her reasoning based on the positions of the hour and minute hands.

  1. The first clock reads 6:10.
  2. The second clock reads 1:25.
  3. The third clock reads 12:00.
  4. The fourth clock reads 4:30.

After, Boddle discusses how to distinguish between AM and PM. A whole day is 24 hours, but the clock only goes till 12. After 12, it returns to 1. Meaning that 1 day equals 2 clock rotations.

8:00 can be in the morning or in the evening, so how can we differentiate? This is where AM and PM come in.

  1. AM = Anytime after midnight but before noon.
  2. PM = Anytime after noon but before midnight.

Boddle then provides examples for students to check their understanding.

  1. Tina wakes up in the morning and looks at her clock.
    a. What time is it?
    b. The clock reads 7:30, and since it’s morning, it’s 7:30 a.m.
  2. Daryl finishes school in the afternoon.
    a. He looks at his digital watch.
    b. The clock reads 3:50, and since it’s afternoon, it’s 3:50 p.m.

Boddle then congratulates the students on a job well done!

Want more practice?

Give your students additional standards-aligned practice with Boddle Learning. Boddle includes questions related to Comparing and Measuring Lengths plus rewarding coins and games for your students to keep them engaged. Click here to sign up for Boddle Learning and create your first assignment today.

*Information on standards is gathered from The New Mexico Public Education Department's New Mexico Instructional Scope for Mathematics and the Common Core website.