Not Your Average Paper Clock

Let's face it: Learning how to tell time is tough. There are just so many rules to memorize. The hour hand is short. The minute hand counts by fives. The hour hand speaks first. Oy vey! My mind spins just thinking about it.

As a primary school teacher, I used all kinds of different clocks to teach these rules and, without question, this homemade variety was my all time favorite because it brought all of those complicated rules together in one spot.

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Most of the work came before I invited kids to join me. First, I used the Sharpie to draw short lines around the brim of one plate - dividing it into twelve equal pieces... Or maybe I should say, twelve ALMOST equal pieces. I cut carefully along the lines.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Starting with the number one, I labeled each of the hours. Then I hot glued my yellow plate to an orange plate. (Your paper plates may be any colors you'd like - just be sure that they are different.) The top plate would be used to read the hour and the bottom plate would tell the minutes.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    I carefully bent down each fold and wrote the number of corresponding minutes. Since I know that a minute hand pointing directly at the number 12 means zero past the hour, I bent down the 12 and wrote 00. Under the number 1, I wrote 05 and so on until I labeled 55 under the number 11.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    The yellow plate would be used to read the number of hours so I labeled a matching strip of yellow card stock "hour". I labeled the orange card stock "minute" to correspond with the orange paper plate we'd use to read the number of minutes. I carefully attached both strips to the center of the plates with a brad.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Done!

    Whew! Then the fun began. My three year old enjoyed counting the numbers along the brim of the yellow plate. Older children could practice telling time by first naming the number that the yellow hand pointed to and then lifting the flap to name the number that the orange hand was pointing to. Is time still a tricky concept to master? Absolutely. But this not-so-ordinary paper plate does a fine job of making it just a little bit easier.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

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