Adding to 60: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

John C. Huber, Suzanne R. Huber, Charles E. Lamb


In dealing with time-telling, children have traditionally used a counting procedure to determine the correct time. For example, with a clock as in Figure 1 the student will count by fives to obtain "seven, twenty-five" or "twenty-five after seven." In Figure 2, the student will no doubt count back from 8:00 to obtain 7:45, or "fifteen 'til eight." With the advent of digital clocks, see Figure 3, students are no longer applying this technique. The visual aid is not present and thus the time is read only as 7:42 and not "eighteen 'til eight." Teachers may not see that this presents a problem because they personally are capable of reading this as "eighteen 'til eight." This is most likely due to previous experience and the ability to "visualize" a clock face in the mind. However, students who are exposed only to digital readouts will often be at a disadvantage if we continue to employ phrases such as "til the hour" or "before the hour."


Time-Telling; Analog; Addition

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