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What Makes A Good Resource - Time matching game

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 05 August 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 03 September 2010 by ncetm_administrator

What Makes a Good Resource

Time Matching Game

Resource description:

Time Matching Game

A set of cards, enough for one per pair. The cards have a mixture of analogue clocks and times written in words both in analogue and 12 hour digital, e.g. a quarter to eight o’clock and 12.30pm.

Teacher comment

Understanding and telling the time is a concept many children of all ages struggle with, with some still unable to do this when they leave primary school. I wanted to develop a resource that could help to address this issue. This resource has been primarily used in year 3, but can be adapted and used in all year groups from Year 1 through to Year 6.

In Year 3, children need to be able to:

  • Read the time on a 12–hour digital clock and to the nearest 5 minutes on an analogue clock
  • Calculate time intervals and find start or end times for a given time interval

This game really assisted children in their understanding of time and was a fun way of learning to tell the time.

Can my learners achieve their year group’s objectives for time?

What I did:

As with every lesson, I began by asking a question and letting the children discuss what they already knew about that topic. For example, ‘What do you already know about time?/ How can you tell what time it is?’ This gives the children an opportunity to discuss what they had learnt in previous years, rather than hitting a class with a question that they may not know the answer to. This is also a useful tool for Assessment for learning as I find that it gives them a chance to recap on their learning without feeling pressured to put their hand up straight away.

Do I provide such opportunities in my lessons?

Once the children have had an opportunity to pair share I then recap on what they need to know to read an analogue clock. I asked the question: ‘So, how do we read the analogue clock? What is important to remember when reading this clock?’ Pair share.

The children had time to talk and one child said ‘We need to remember that the big hand is the hand that tells us how many minutes to or past the hour it is.’ The game that the children are playing in this lesson, would require them to already know how to read a basic analogue clock and understand various elements of understanding time.

In year 3, this is to be able to read the time to five minutes. The LA children were given easier examples e.g. only hours or half past, quarter past and quarter to. The LA children also worked with the TA that was in the room. The LA enjoyed the task and one child even said that reading the time was ‘easy.’

Things they would need to know are:

  • How many hours there are on an analogue clock
  • How to say each hour (o’clock)
  • How many minutes is half past the hour
  • How many minutes is quarter past, quarter to the hour
  • Modelling (on analogue clock) the time if the big hand is in the middle of 1 and 2 and the little hand is on the number 6
  • As previously stated, by year 3, they should know how to read the time up to 5 min intervals.

Are there other things that they need to know?

After our discussions and once I felt the children were confident at telling the time, they played the game with their partner. The instructions are as follows:

  • Each ability pair has a set of clock number cards from ‘Time 1’ between them placed face down on the table. The set has a mixture of analogue clocks and times in words, e.g. a quarter past nine o’clock, and the time in digits, e.g. 9.15.
  • The children divide their whiteboard into two and write their initials at the top of each section to keep the score.
  • Each child, in turn, picks 2 of the cards. If they match up with each other, e.g. 8.45 and ‘a quarter to nine o’clock, the child gets a point.
  • The person with the most points is the winner.


By practising the skills of telling the time in a game format, all the children were engaged because it was fun, visual and interactive and it appealed to all types of learners. We all know children understand and learn more when things are fun!

I was really pleased with how well the children enjoyed the game and coped with the understanding of time. It was really successful and this was reflected in their ability to move on and solve problems involving time differences. It was also reflected in the lessons later that week, and on the answers on their white board. At the end of the lesson, I always ask a series of questions to see how well the children coped. This lesson, I showed some analogue clocks on the board with, quarter past, 25 past, 25 to etc and most of the children got the correct answer on their w/b.

I used this game in year 3, but it can be adapted to any age range and any area of telling the time. For example, in year 2, making it quarter to and quarter past and in year 5 and 6 making it 12 and 24 hour clock examples.


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