Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers

Is it time for "Judy Clocks" to disappear?

This discussion is part of a collection:Introducing Measurement Concepts K-2

Since we are living in a digital age where the time is presented electronically, is it really important for children to learn to tell time from an analog clock? What do you think?


Mrs. V., if you mean the Judy clocks that have gears to accurately show the relative motions of the hands, keep 'em. Beth alludes to some of the auxiliary teaching benefits (and what about related rates?). If you mean the classroom clocks that allow a teacher to put big hand on 6 and little hand squarely on 9 and report that clock shows 9:30, I'd trash those.

I think it is essential to keep teaching how to read an analog clock. Minutes, hours, seconds are all broken down into increment of 60 the foundation for this is the analog clock, without the analog clock this makes no sense. In addition learning to tell time on a clock presents many students first experience with fractions, telling a quarter of an hour, a half of an hour... Furthermore my watch is analog, the clocks in our schools are analog, the clocks in many public places are analog. I do not think this is going to change any time soon.

I just checked the CCSS for measurement standards for time and this is the statement: [2.MD.7] Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m. Do your students tie their shoes or do they have velcro?

Most of my students tie their shoes, but I can remember one student ten years ago that did not know how to tie her shoes in 4th grade and I had to help her. It is an important fine motor skill; plus it becomes harder to buy velcro shoes after a certain size! The premise, just because something is easier, doesn't mean it is better, and often the more difficult tasks have smaller skills embedded in them.