Math Worksheets - Telling Time to the Quarter Hour

Telling Time to the Quarter Hour
Fotosearch / Getty Images
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Telling Time the Quarter Hour

Telling Time to the Quarter Hour
Fotosearch / Getty Images

Telling time to the quarter hour can be challenging for young children. The terminology can be confusing since most kids think of a quarter in terms of twenty-five cents. Phrases such as "a quarter after" and "a quarter till" can have young learners scratching their heads when there isn't a twenty-five anywhere in sight. 

A visual explanation can help children tremendously. Show them a picture of an analog clock. (You can use one of the free printables below.) Use a colorful marker to draw a line straight down from the twelve to the six. Draw another line straight across from the nine to the three.

Show your child how these lines split the clock into four parts - quarters, hence the term, quarter hour.

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Start Simple

Despite the challenges it presents, telling time to the quarter hour is an important skill. Before children can learn how to tell time to the nearest five minutes, they'll need to learn how to read an analog clock to the quarter hour. Even children who have learned to tell time to the hour and half hour may find it difficult to jump to quarter-hour increments. To ease the transition, start with simple worksheets that throw in a few familiar hour and half-hour times.

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Half- and On-Hour Options

Allow students to build confidence with worksheets that continue to offer half- and on-the-hour options. Students will be able to see that half- and on-hour times are part of the quarter-hour spectrum, as demonstrated on this worksheet.

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Add Some Humor

Add some humor for the students. This worksheet starts with a small joke connected to a picture showing a window and a sunny sky outside. As an added bonus, the image shows the midday sun. Use the picture to explain the concept of midday and afternoon - and talk about what times of the day you might see the sun high in the sky.

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Draw in the Clock Hands

Now it's time to allow students to draw in the hands of the clock. Review with the young children that the small hand represents the hour, while the big hand shows the minutes.

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Draw More Clock Hands

It's important to give students plenty of opportunities to practice drawing clock hands, as this worksheet provides.

If students are having difficulty, consider buying a teaching clock - also called a learning clock - that allows you or the students to manually set the hands on the clock. Being able to physically manipulate the clock hands can be particularly helpful to children who learn more effectively with a hands-on approach.

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Yet More Hands

Give students even more opportunity to draw the hands on a clock with these worksheets. Continue to have students use a learning clock; more expensive versions automatically move the hour hand as the child adjusts the minute hand - or vice versa - providing an excellent learning tool. While this version may be slightly more expensive, it can be very useful in helping children understand how and why the hour and minute hands work in conjunction with each other.

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Mixed Practice

When your student is feeling confident with both types of worksheets - identifying the time based on the clock hands and drawing hands on an analog clock based on a digital time, mis things up. Use this worksheet that gives students a chance to draw the hands on some clocks and identify the times on others. This worksheet - and the following three - provide plenty of mixed practice.

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More Mixed Practice

As you have students move through the worksheets, don't just focus on paperwork. Take the opportunity to employ some creative ways of teaching time to help young children learn the concept.

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Change It Up

Have students continue mixed practice on worksheets that allow them to practice telling time to the quarter hour. Also, take the opportunity to start teaching how to tell time to the nearest five minutes. The learning clock will be key to helping children transition to this next skill.

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Complete the Practice

Review the meaning of the minute and hour hands as you give students one more chance to practice telling time to the quarter hour. In addition to worksheets, a well-designed lesson plan will help to emphasize the key steps to telling time.

Updated by Kris Bales