Clock manipulatives are used for learning to tell time. These hands-on learning devices let students move the hour and minute hands. More advanced clock manipulatives use a gear mechanism so that the minute and hour hands move together, maintaining their true real-world relationship. Some geared clocks let students move only the hour hand, while some others let students move both the minute and hour hand.

Virtual Clock Manipulative

Virtual manipulatives, such as Brainingcamp's Clock Manipulative, include convenient annotation devices so that users can visualize skip-counting and interval times. Brainingcamp's Clock Manipulative also includes an optional seconds hand.


Using an Clocks

Time to Hours

The short blue hand is called the "hour hand" and points to the hour. Rotate the hour hand until it points to 8. We write the time as 8:00 (pronounced "8 o’clock". The long green hand is called the "minute hand" and points to the minute. When the minute hand point directly up, there are no minutes. The two zeros in 8:00 indicate that there are no minutes.

Time to Half Hours

Rotate the hands and notice that one hour equals the time it takes for the minute hand to go all the way around the clock. Point the hour hand to 3 and then point the minute hand directly down. Notice that the minute is halfway through the next hour and that the hour hand has moved halfway between 3 and 4. Because the time is halfway through the hour, we say the time is "half past" three. Notice that there are 60 minutes in one full hour and 30 minutes in a half hour. The time is written as 3:30 (pronounced "half past three" or "three thirty").

Time to 5 Minutes

Notice that 5 minutes passes each time the minute hand reaches another number. Point the hour hand to 3 and the minute hand to 1. The time is written as 3:05 (pronounced "three oh five"). Move the minute hand to 2. The time is written as 3:10 (pronounced "three ten"). Continue rotating the minute hand around the clock and skip count to find how many minutes have past. For example, when the minute hand points to seven, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 minutes have passed.

Time to Minutes

Recall that each small tick represents one minute. There are 5 minutes between each number on the clock and 60 minutes in an hour. To find the time 5:38 on the clock, point the hour hand to 5 to represent 5 hours. Next, starting at the top of the clock, skip count by fives: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35. Finally, skip count by ones: 36, 37, 38. Point the minute hand to represent 38 minutes.

A.M. and P.M.

On a clock, each time occurs twice during a day. For example, 7:00 occurs in the morning around breakfast and again in the evening around dinner. We use A.M. to indicate time before 12:00 noon and P.M. to indicate time after 12:00 noon. Use the button at the bottom of the screen to turn on the A.M. and P.M indicator. Notice what happens whenever the hour hand passes through the 12 position.

Elapsed Time

Elapsed time is the amount of time between a start and end time. To find the amount of time between 3:28 and 3:43, count the number of minutes between the two times. There are 2 minutes from 3:28 to 3:30, another 10 minutes, from 3:30 to 3:40, and another 3 minutes from 3:40 to 3:43. The sum of the counts is 2 + 10 + 3, or 15 minutes. So there are 15 minutes between 3:28 and 3:43.

Adding and Subtracting Time

To subtract 14 minutes from 7:23, start by pointing the hour hand to 7 and the minute hand to 23 minutes. Next, move the minute hand 10 minutes backward (points to 13 minutes). Finally, move the minute hand another 4 minutes backward (points to 09 minutes). The clock manipulative hands show that 14 minutes earlier than 7:23 is 7:09.