Elapsed Time Number Lines

I don't know why it is, but teaching elapsed time is just so hard!  The concept seems so foreign to the kids, though they deal with it on a daily basis.  I am really stumped as to what makes this so difficult for them to grasp and figure out.  So, to help make the idea more concrete, I whipped out some good old sentence strips and had the kids practice with concept with their own life as an example.
I asked them to think about a typical weekday afternoon.  From 2pm until 6pm (so when they get out of school until dinner-ish), what did they normally do?  They needed to think of 4 events that would happen during that time.  Could be doing homework, baseball practice, riding in the car home....anything that they do within that four hour window.  

The kids then needed to guesstimate what time they start the activity and what time they end the activity.  Those times were written on the recording sheet.  The kids then calculated how long that time frame was.  The found the elapsed time!  They did that with all 4 events. 

The students then created a number line using a sentence strip.  They began the number line (which was a sort of time line...get it? TIME line?? ;) ) with 2pm and ended it with 6pm, using 1 hour intervals in between.  They used blank clocks and drew the time for both the beginning and ending of each event.  Then the students glued those clocks onto the number lines.

All in all, this  really was a great way to get the kids practicing with elapsed time, using number lines, AND showing time on an analog clock, all in a real life way.  The kids really liked this activity and were eager to show their work with time off!  You can get the printables I used with this activity here.

1 comment

  1. Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to try this later in the year.


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