# Help! How do/would you teach elapsed time to a fifth grader?

1. Give him a clock with hands. Ask him the problem, and get him to tell you how to do it.
You watch, as long as he has a clock (real One) in front of him, he will come up with a way

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Originally Posted by october
Give him a clock with hands. Ask him the problem, and get him to tell you how to do it.
You watch, as long as he has a clock (real One) in front of him, he will come up with a way
We've done that - and short of counting every minute by minute he cannot compute an answer.

3. Originally Posted by WorkingClassMum
Heres the question - how would/do you teach a child to calculate elapsed time?

Remember the method had to be applied to all time calculations - no exceptions to the rule

Say for example to calculate elapsed time from 1.13pm to 5.42pm

I explained

1.13 to 1.22 = 9 minutes
1.22 to 1.42 = 20 minutes
1.42 to 5.42 = 4 hours

Total = 4 hours and 29 minutes

This method is constant and applied to all time calculations and Mr 11 cannot grasp this.

Is there an easy consistent method of calculation of elapsed time?
Hi,
What's he like with equations?
I was thinking if you set up the elapsed time question as this-
5.42
- 1.13
---------
= 4.29 ( he would need to know how to borrow & carry to do these sums though?)
then show the same on the clock face so he sees the same and how the exact workings translate on the clock face.

Rounding up and rounding down may be another option till he can get use to the harder times.

Number lines or a 60 cm ruler is another way.

I'd try and work it in to every day at home so he doesn't get stressed about it either. Ask questions how long to you go somewhere, favorite show on tv is on etc. when he is beginning to understand.

Does he like looking at the tv guide- you could use this, use practical things to grab his attention and make it fun. When's it fun you tend to grasp things better.

Sorry I find it easier to teach than write how to do it..hope it makes sense. Good luck

4. I'm usually good at maths (I tutor high school level and my students are pleased with the results, but I'm not a teacher and don't have maths quals). But I have to slow down heaps when it comes to time calculations, whether hours/minutes or years/months, and put more visualisation into it.
I think my problem is that absolute time is a linear concept, but in everyday life it's represented on a circular framework.

Like most other posters, I'd do hours first. I'd then stop and say, "So, OK, I've added this many hours. Where am I now? Have I gone too far? Do I need to add or subtract minutes to get to my goal."
I tend to think in a straight number line for hours (as though they're the "normal" numbers). If the hours go across 12, then I curve my number line like the top half of the clock, and count hours until 12, then add the hours after 12. But I don't close the hours line into a clockface. Turning hours into a circle leads to my confusion.
But I may then draw up clock faces to help with the visualisation of minutes. Even though I'd draw a circle, I only look at a portion of it, so again it is being treated as a bent number line, and not as a circle.
I guess that means I try to force the circular representation of time onto a (for me) more comfortable linear frame.

Since they don't teach the old "borrow and payback" rote method of subtraction, but actually learn that they're taking 10 out of the tens column and adding them to the ones column these days, then doing the same thing by taking 1 hour from one and adding 60 minutes to the other may be of some help in later calculations.

I always remind my students that there is (almost always) more than one correct way to get to the answer in maths, and that it's my job to help them try on the different ways to find the one that fits them. If they know they're just trying a method on for good fit then it's a little less stressful than the "You must learn this way," that they often get (or think they get) at school IYKWIM.

5. I was your son! I just didn't get math. My grandpa was a math teacher and would tutor me and it always, ALWAYS ended in years. I could only master visual problems. I felt so behind everyone else, always covered my results because if I passed something, it wasn't by much.

Sorry I have no suggestions - I *never* got it, and while I can work out stuff better now, it took me a good 5 years after school finished to have the energy to even try again.

I just want to say, try not to express your frustration to him. My mum and grandpa did and it made me feel like crap - like, "why are you even bothering? I'm never going to get it!" *cue the tears*

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