This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about time to the quarter and half hour. It is designed to complement the Time to the Quarter and Half Hour topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Telling time to the quarter and half hour can be confusing for some children, so we recommend reviewing the Parts of a Clock movie as well as Time to the Hour before exploring this topic. In addition, the activities and quizzes that accompany both those movies will help your children feel more comfortable and confident before moving on to telling time to the quarter and half hour.

Remind your children that when you divide something in half, you split it into two equal parts. Review how many minutes are in an hour with your class. Then help them discover that since there are sixty minutes in one hour, there are thirty minutes in half an hour. Using an analog clock, point out that in one hour, the minute hand goes all the way around the clock. So in a half-hour, the minute hand reaches halfway around the clock. Therefore, at half past the hour, the minute hand will be on the 6. Point out to your children that the hour hand also moves from one number to the next in one hour, so in a half hour, the hour hand will be halfway between two numbers. Since the minute hand is halfway around the clock and the hour hand is halfway between two numbers, people say that the time is half past the hour.

When the minute hand is halfway around the clock – at the 6 – thirty minutes have passed. Use a clock to skip-count by fives until you get to the 6, ending at 30. If the time is half past 11, we write the time as 11:30. Use clocks to practice telling time to the half hour and make sure your children are comfortable before moving on to telling time to the quarter hour.

Remind your children that there are four quarters in an hour, just as there are four quarters in one dollar, or four quarters in a whole. Each quarter of an hour is equal to fifteen minutes. When the time is quarter past the hour, the minute hand is a quarter of the way around the clock. This means that the minute hand is on the 3. You can count by fives until you get to the 3, ending at 15. Thus, if the time is quarter past 11, we write the time as 11:15.

Review with your children that two quarters is equal to a half. You may want to use fraction manipulatives or cut a circular piece of paper into four equal parts to demonstrate that two quarters make up a half. Then on a clock, move the minute hand from the first quarter to the second quarter and point out how the minute hand ends up on the 6, exactly halfway around the clock. The hour hand is between two numbers.

Now move the minute hand to the 9 to show three quarters past the hour. Skip-count by fives together until you get to the 9, ending at 45. Note how the hour hand is close to the next hour, but not quite there. Show the time 3:45 and ask your children to write or say the time. Explain that we also say it is a quarter to the next hour. (It doesn’t make sense to say three quarters past three o’clock!)

The best way for your children to become comfortable with telling time to the hour, half hour, or quarter is to practice. If possible, use demonstration clocks or an analog clock and have students practice telling the time. Throughout the day, ask them to read the clock and write the time. By incorporating clocks and time in their day, your children will become more comfortable with telling time.