Today, we are continuing to learn about time (see the initial lesson here). Learning how to tell, read and write time is very important, especially as children are getting older. Since there are only a finite amount of hours in a day, I teach my children to spend time wisely: if we waste time on something frivolous, we might not have enough time to do what really matters to us. To make this abstract concept more concrete, today, we are using this beautiful hand-made wooden fractions set (buy here) to represent hours and minutes.
Originally, Egyptians divided the clock into 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of night-time (or alternatively 10 hours between sunrise and sunset, an hour for each twilight period and 12 hours of darkness), as evidenced by various ancient sundials found marked with hours. So, a clock's dial displays twelve hours, and we can illustrate each hour by 1/12 fraction. Also, each hour has 60 minutes, and if we use 1/12 fractions, each fraction represents five minutes. Furthermore, using 1/4 fractions, a quarter of an hour is 15 minutes. There are four quarters (4 x 1/4) in one hour. Lastly, two quarters make half an hour which is 30 minutes. To illustrate this concept, we are using a wooden Time Learning Puzzle (buy here) made of non-toxic finish, which teaches a child basic time telling techniques with a rotating hour and minute hands. We are also using an Activity Clock, the Winner Of The 2006 Silver Award Practical PreSchool UK (buy here).
A quarter past 8, is 7 o'clock and 15 minutes, which is 1/4 of on hour.
A quarter to 4, means 3 quarters (15 minutes each) have passed since 3 o'clock: or 3 o'clock and 45 minutes.
"Half past" - means 2 quarters (15 minutes each) have passed or 30 minutes.
1/12 fraction can either represent 1/12 of 60 minutes which is 5 minutes, or 1/12 of a clock's dial, which is 1 hour.
To learn more, we read About Time book (buy here), which tells an intriguing story about inventing the art of telling time. At first, no one knew the difference between a minute, an hour, and a day. Then people started creating tools to measure time. First, they used the sun, the moon, and the water, but soon they started building clocks. This book is a good introduction to a broader subject of time, including history of time making, and exploring various timepieces through the ages from an Egyptian shadow clock in 1500 B.C. to electric clocks in A.D. 2000.
How do you teach time to your children? Julia is seven, and she still needs lessons like this to reinforce her understanding of time.