Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about the parts of a clock. It is designed to complement the Parts of a Clock topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

We read clocks to tell time and plan our day. Reading clocks and telling time are visited many times in grade school, so the extent to which your child understands the concepts will vary. Your child should begin by recognizing that an analog clock has hands and a face. Most clocks have two hands, a short hand which points to the hours and a longer hand which points to the minutes. The hands move around the clock at different speeds, with the hour hand moving slower than the minute hand. Most analog clocks also have twelve numbers on the face.

Your child should understand that clocks are divided into two major groups, analog and digital. An analog clock has hands that move gradually from one time to the next, while a digital clock shows the time using numbers and a colon. Though digital clocks may be easier to read, it is important for your child to learn how to tell time using an analog clock. The movies in the Time Unit will help your child learn how to tell time step-by-step.

Work with your child to come up with different types of clocks: alarm clocks, pocket watches, wrist watches, digital clocks, stopwatches, timers, clocks that count down, and so on. Where has your child seen a clock? What do people use clocks for? Have your child describe the different clocks he or she has seen at school, home, or around the neighborhood. Explain that analog clocks may have faces that look different–some analog clocks only have four numbers on the face, while others may have none at all.

Your child should understand that time allows people to organize and plan their day. People schedule classes, meetings, and appointments using time so it’s important for your child to understand that time is a reference point, an agreed-upon standard on which the day is based. We recommend watching the Time to the Hour movie together for further review.