Analogue Time: Mastering the Clock Face PDF



The clock-face. It’s a tough thing to grasp. Yet we expect children to be able to read clocks by the age of seven! Think about these things for a moment:

On a clock:

  • Numbers go round in a circle (previously they were in a straight line)
  • The number after 12 is 1 (and they happen twice in a day)
  • 6 is not always 6. It could be a half (which is 30 but we don’t say so)
  • Sometimes 3 is not 3; it’s a quarter (oh, and also it might be 15)
  • Oh, and while we’re at it, 2 could be ‘ten past’, and 10 could be ‘ten to’.

Tricky, right?! I have some ideas about why, and I think a LOT of the problems come from the fact that we expect children to understand that the two hands on a clock not only measure different things, but use a completely different scale – on the same clock face!


It’s no wonder that so may children struggle, so I have developed a methodology based on variation and mastery that will make it FAR easier for children to grasp this tricky area of the curriculum. Aimed at Years 1-3, but there will certainly be children in older classes who remain baffled by the clock. Once you think deeply about the complexity of clock faces, it’s not hard to see why it’s such a tough ask for many children.

This resource turns the whole concept on its head by using two clock faces! One shows the hours, the other the minutes. And this is only logical – after all, they use different numbers! Only once the two scales have been understood independently, should children be asked to think about them together. Children will cut out and use different hands for hours and minutes, and use time cards to create the times on their clocks. The times are sorted into five levels of difficulty:

Level 1: Hours…

Level 2: Half past…

Level 3: 5,10,15,20 and 25 past…

Level 4: 5,10,15,20 ad 25 to…

Level 5: Quarter past and to.

Not the usual order we introduce these concepts, but actually far more logical, and easier to grasp.

This instantly-downloadable resource also includes photocopy masters to support children in their journey to FINALLY master the clock face!


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