Question of the Week 6: Telling the Time

The following question is taken from my website Diagnostic Questions. Here you will find 1000s of high quality maths multiple choice diagnostic / hinge questions, ideal for assessment for learning, which have been created and shared by maths teachers all over the world.

Recently I ran a workshop for maths teachers up near Durham. The audience was a mixture of secondary school teachers and teachers of Years 5 and 6 in Primary.

As I have written about before, I am somewhat in awe of primary school teachers, and some tremendous work in mathematics, both in terms of content and pedagogy, gets done in those early years.

Not being a primary school teacher myself, I am always hesitant when suggesting my ideas and activities will work with students of that young an age. However, I was delighted by the response that Diagnostic Questions had with the audience, and the primary school teachers amongst them.

Indeed, it went down so well that we have had a recent influx of questions on the website aimed at the primary school age range, and the one above is a particular favourite of mine. It is on the subject of telling them time.

The author of the question has kindly included the misconceptions that each of the wrong answers would reveal. This has really given me an insight into how students think, and once again highlights my view that teachers can learn so much from each other and students’ learning by simply looking at each other’s questions. I have never taught telling the time, but now I feel in a stronger position to do so.

Answer a) Children have confused their minute and hour hands

Answer b) is correct

Answer c) Children have used knowledge of digital time to read the clock face rather than analogue

Answer d) Children have confused the to and past side of the clock

And if you have used the question, or have any thoughts or comments about it – perhaps you would include a different incorrect answer – then please share your comments below. And please consider creating a question yourself on the website! :-)

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