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

1. Originally Posted by veve
dont stress too much - I still remember having screaming matches with my mum because when I found things hard, I actually felt my brain shut .. if that makes any sense??? he might be the same?? too hard - cant do it ... mum tried so hard to help me .. and it was a horrible experience for both of us .. I"m just not MEANT to do maths as a main part of my career ...

I know it adds an EXTRA step - and it might not work .. but would he do better if you went from say

1.13 to 1.15 = 2 minutes
1.15 to 1.45 = 30 minutes
1.45 to 5.45 = 4 hours
5:45 to 5.42 = - 3 minutes

4 hours and 29 minutes

I know its the long way around - but it gets it to 'normal' times fast .. and then its fiddly at the END not the start??? *shrugs* all brains work differently?

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WorkingClassMum  (06-07-2012)

3. My brain goes:

1.42 until 5.42 = 4 hours

Then, to find 1.13 until 1.42 I would do 42 minus 13 = 29 minutes.

Two steps seems easier to me?

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WorkingClassMum  (06-07-2012)

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my brain does hours first then minutes.
so id go 1:13 -5:42 = 4 hours
then 13 + what = 42 sorta thing

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WorkingClassMum  (06-07-2012)

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Originally Posted by smileygirl
get a clock....have him move the hands and get him into it physically.

Or even do it like a number line. If you have the room...make him a big number line that he can walk along.

Some kinetic learners really need to "get inside" what they are learning
We've used clock faces and time lines and we've used those colored wooden rods too.

I asked him if even Veve's suggestion helps - and I'm greeted with a blank face.

This is a child that can imagine vacuum cleaner ships to suck up spilt oil on oceans, a child that can learn a page of lines within a couple of hours, that came memorise his 5 minute presentation talks for school and makes clay animation movies but maths eludes him like catching sunbeams in a sieve. He can entertain aroom full of people with a spontaneous tap dance and still can't recite the times tables.

8. if he can get 5's and 0's, can you go from there?
as in 1:35pm to 4:16pm, keeping one time as a 0 or 5 and changing the other time '1' away from 5 or 0?

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WorkingClassMum  (07-07-2012)

10. My brain goes:

1.13 - 2.13 = 1hr
2.13 - 3.13 = 2hrs
3.13 - 4.13 = 3hrs
4.13 - 5.13 = 4hrs

And then

5.13 - 5.23 = 10 minutes
5 23 - 5.33 = 20 minutes

And then

5.33 - 5.34
5.34 - 5.35
5.35 - 5.36
.
.
.
5.41 - 5.42 = 9 minutes

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11. I do the hours first too.

142-542= 4 hours
Then do the minutes.

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WorkingClassMum  (07-07-2012)

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It is really hard to learn this stuff when you don't have a mathematical mind, and the harder it seems the greater likelihood of mentally shutting off - this was/is me.
I think all you can do is offer different methods of calculating and hope one clicks and if it is getting stressful then have a break.
DH taught me math and he would often up so frustrated as what seemed so obvious to him was like 'what??? i don't get it' to me. I need to have things explained many times and many methods offered and i need to sit that info for a while before it clicks.
I would calculate that sum in such a long winded way - i'd go 1.13 to 2 = 47 mins, 2 to 5 = 3 hrs, 5 to 5.42 = 42 mins so 47+42=89 which = 1hr29mins, which means the total is 4hrs29mins. See how ridiculously long i made that? because my brain works differently that's how i worked it out. I'd have to actually sit on it a while to realise there are much easier ways..

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WorkingClassMum  (07-07-2012)

15. I'm a maths teacher. Also have a Masters degree in this area and am currently doing a PhD in numeracy education, so I guess that makes me a subject matter expert.

It also means I will have to try very hard to keep this brief

If your son "gets" 5s and 10s but not others, just leave it for a while. Like, a couple of weeks. It is a battle of maturation and readiness and no amount of practice will rush it, but it may harm his confidence if you keep pushing him and that damage is not easily repaired. He will get it eventually.

Secondly, I would try jumping hours first, not minutes as you have done in your first post. Ensure you use diagrams, actual clock faces, digital clocks, and build up to 'ugly' times eg 3:15pm to 6:20pm, then 3:15pm to 6:22pm, then 3:12pm to 6:22pm, then 3:12pm to 6:27pm. See how you gradually make it harder? Only increase the difficulty after they have well and truly mastered the easier question.

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WorkingClassMum  (07-07-2012)

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Originally Posted by Nagari

Secondly, I would try jumping hours first, not minutes as you have done in your first post. Ensure you use diagrams, actual clock faces, digital clocks, and build up to 'ugly' times eg 3:15pm to 6:20pm, then 3:15pm to 6:22pm, then 3:12pm to 6:22pm, then 3:12pm to 6:27pm. See how you gradually make it harder? Only increase the difficulty after they have well and truly mastered the easier question.
Thats initially pretty much what we did, but if we did hours first his answers were often wrong by one hour.

We did get out the time telling books that have clock faces and a toy clock as well, I've printed clock faces off and we've 'drawn' and counted each step.

As Anagram said, I work with Maths all day so it's very second nature for me and I find it hard to understand what he doesnt understand.

His year level at school have been doing elapsed time for the past term and DS's portfolio had no completed work sheets and he feels very embarrassed and wants to take them back to school completed after the school holidays.

He's going over to my sisters tomorrow and my sister and his cousin have been through this and are going to go over it with him.

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