Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Math: A Video Library, K-4

How Long Is a Minute?

Video Overview
Students in this class have already studied the concept of an hour, and are now investigating the concept of time as a measure of duration. Specifically, they focus on the concept of a minute. The lesson begins with students observing the second hand of the clock and counting by fives as they watch the second hand rotate for one minute. Students think of a list of activities they could do in one minute, such as jump up and down or write a name. After a student models how to do the lesson activity, the students work in pairs to do fifteen-second trials of three activities from the list before they estimate how many times they think they could do the activity in one minute. To determine the time measurements, students use mental math strategies for addition and skip counting. Students perform the activity for one minute and compare the results with their estimates. Then students use stopwatches to time how long it takes one student to write her name ten times.

Topics for Discussion

The following areas provide a focus for discussion after you view the video. You may want to customize these areas or focus on your own discussion ideas.

Developing the Concept of Time

  1. In the lesson, students determined how many times they could perform an action in one minute. How does this lesson contribute to their concept of time?

  2. The lesson focused on developing the concept of time as a measure of duration as opposed to learning how to read a clock. What are the pros and cons of this approach?

  3. How was estimation addressed in this lesson? How did it contribute to developing a concept of a minute?

  4. The students in the lesson used digital stopwatches. What do you think of this choice? Why?

  5. At the end of the lesson, students timed how long it would take one student to write her name ten times. How does this activity further the students' understanding of the concept of time?

Giving Students Ownership

  1. Why is it important to have students generate and choose specific tasks?

  2. What types of activities did students suggest? What activities did they select? What similarities or differences did you notice in what they suggested and selected?

  3. Students chose to try many different activities. How would you follow up this lesson to address all their varied experiences?

  4. Rather than always calling on her students, Ms. Paoletti sometimes had students call on each other. What are the advantages of this technique? The disadvantages?

  5. What other opportunities did you observe in the lesson that allowed students to take ownership? Outline other ways to build ownership.

Time Activities

Think of and try other activities that would help students connect the measurement or passage of time (duration) with clock reading and clock hand movement. For example, measure the time a wind-up toy or a battery-driven car takes to travel twenty feet or measure how long it takes a person walking toe to heel to travel ten feet.


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