Analog Clocks and Teaching Angles


Do you teach students how to measure angles? Here’s an awesome little trick to make it much easier for the kids. Analog clocks can serve as a simple measurement estimation tool. Each number on a clock represents exactly 30 degrees. Teach your kids to draw angles that approximate the hands on a clock.

For example, tell them to draw an angle that measures 120 degrees. Most students from the 4th grade and up can multiply 30’s since it’s just like multiplying by 3’s. So to dclock-147257_640raw an angle that measures 120 degrees, the student would count by 30’s (30, 60, 90, 120.) 30 times 4 is 120 so the students draw a hand pointing at an imaginary 12 and an imaginary 4 and VOILA!

I’ve been teaching kids to use protractors for years. It’s so challenging for them. When I tried the clock trick, my kids picked it up like *THAT!* Of course it takes a bit of practice. And your students will probably master it a bit quicker if they are able to see each other’s work. You may want to practice skip counting by 30’s before asking the students to draw angles.

Once the kids get good at drawing the angles, it will be much easier for them to flip it around and measure angles that are already drawn. They will first look at the angle and ask themselves how this would look on a clock.

Have fun!

Published by

Tim Bedley

Tim Bedley has been teaching elementary school since 1988. He was recognized as the 2013 Riverside County Teacher of the year. Tim is also the founder of America's number one educational rock band, Rockin' the Standards. He also produces two podcast found on iTunes: The Bedley Bros. and The 5-Minute MishMash. Tim and his brother Scott are co-founders of Global School Play Day, a grassroots movement to promote unstructured play with today's youths.

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