Lesson Video: Telling Time in Words: Time to the Quarter Hour Mathematics

In this video, we will learn how to tell time to the quarter hour on analog clocks and record the time in words.

11:37

Video Transcript

Telling Time in Words: Time to the Quarter Hour

In this video, we’re going to learn how to tell the time to the quarter hour on analog clocks. We’re also going to learn how to record these times in words.

When we first start learning to tell the time, we learn what happens when the minute hand makes a whole turn all the way around the clock face. We learn o’clock times, don’t we? And after we’ve learned all about o’clock times, we go on to think about what happens when the minute hand only turns half the way around the clock face. In other words, we start to learn half-past times too. In this video, we’re going to carry on using our knowledge of o’clock and half-past times. But instead of thinking about the minute hand making a whole turn or half a turn around the clock face, we’re going to be thinking about quarter turns. What happens when the minute hand turns a quarter of the way around the clock face?

Let’s remind ourselves what a quarter looks like. Now when we divide a shape or a number or an amount into quarters, we divide it into four equal parts. Our analog clock faces that we’re going to be using in this video are circles, aren’t they? And we can divide a circle into four equal parts very quickly by drawing one line down the center — that’s the same as splitting it into half, isn’t it? — but then drawing another line like this. Hopefully, you can see that there are four parts, but also that they’re exactly the same size; they’re quarters.

Let’s do the same to this analog clock face, one line down the middle and another line going straight across. So if we’re going to think about telling the time to the quarter hour in this video, we need to think about what the time is when the minute hand points to the 12, the number three, the number six, and also nine.

Let’s jump in quarters around the clock face and see where we end up. When the minute hand points to the number 12, we know that a new hour is about to start and it’s an o’clock time. Let’s draw an o’clock time, shall we? Let’s draw the time 10 o’clock. And at 10 o’clock, the minute hand is pointing to the 12 and the hour hand is pointing right at the number 10.

Right, let’s start our minute hand moving. Let’s make it turn a quarter of the way around the clock face. We know that when the minute hand points to the three, it’s turned a quarter of the way around the clock face. It’s a quarter of the way past the o’clock time. We describe this time as a quarter-past time. So if we want to draw the time quarter past 10, we’re going to need to draw the minute hand pointing to the number three. This shows that it’s a quarter-past time. And we’d also expect that the hour hand has moved a little on its way to the number 11. We could read this time then as quarter past 10.

Should we make another quarter turn? Now we know this one, don’t we? When the minute hand points to the number six, it’s gone half the way around the clock face. It’s a half-past time, isn’t it? So, in the example that we’re drawing, at half past 10, we’d expect the minute hand to be pointing to the number six and the hour hand would’ve gone halfway past the number 10 on its way to number 11, somewhere there. We’ve got two more quarter turns to make.

Now, when the minute hand points to the number nine, we’re getting very close to the next o’clock time, aren’t we? How much is left to turn? There’s a quarter turn to go. We call this a quarter-to time because instead of thinking about the last o’clock time, we’re beginning to think about the new one that’s coming up. Now in our example, the next o’clock time is going to be 11 o’clock. So the time when the minute hand is pointing to the nine is going to be quarter to 11. We know this because the hour hand is a little bit away from the number 11, but it’s almost there. Let’s make our final quarter turn.

There we are, back to an o’clock time again, ready for a new hour to start. And in our example, the new o’clock time is 11 o’clock, so we need to have the hour hand pointing directly to the number 11. So hopefully, you can see how the time’s going to carry on in quarter turns: 11 o’clock, quarter past 11, half past 11, quarter to 12, 12 o’clock, and so on. Do you think you can tell the time to the quarter hour now? Let’s try answering some questions where we have to practice what we’ve learned.

What time is it? Find the missing number. It is quarter past what.

This question asks us to read this analog clock to find out what time it is. But if we look at the sentence at the bottom of the question, we’ve been given part of the time already. We know that it’s a quarter-past time. What does this mean? Well, we know that a half-past time is where the minute hand was pointing to the 12 but has now made half a turn around the clock face. It’s pointing to the six. So we know that a quarter-past time is where the minute hand has only moved a quarter of the way around the clock face. In other words, it’s pointing to the number three.

Can you see on the picture that the longer hand, which is the minute hand, is pointing directly to the three, isn’t it? We can see that it’s turned a quarter of the way around the clock face. But how would we say this time? It’s quarter past what? Well, to find our missing number, we need to look at the hour hand. Where is this pointing?

If we look at the hour hand, we can see that it’s not pointing to any number at all; it’s in between two numbers. It’s in between the number three and the number four. Now, we know at three o’clock, that hour hand would’ve been pointing right at the number three, wouldn’t it? But now time has moved on a little bit past three o’clock. It’s quarter past three. We know that this is a quarter-past time because the minute hand is pointing to the number three. And we know what missing number it is because we can then look at the hour hand and see that it has moved slightly past the number three. It is quarter past three.

Fill in the blank: What time is it? It is quarter to what.

In this question, we’re given an analog clock, which is a clock that has hands on it, and we’re being asked what time it is. Now, we’ve got part of a sentence here to help us. It is quarter to something. What does it mean for a time to be quarter to? We know that an analog clock face like this shows one hour all the way around. We also know that if we split the clock face into four equal parts, this is the same as splitting it into quarters, quarters of a whole hour.

Now we know when the minute hand points to the number 12 like this, it’s an o’clock time. But when the minute hand hasn’t quite got to the 12 yet and is pointing to the number nine, it’s still got a quarter turn to go until it gets to the 12. That’s how we know this is a quarter-to time; the minute hand is pointing to the nine. But what number are we going to use to fill in the blank? It’s quarter to what?

To understand this, we need to look at the hour hand. We can see that the hour hand isn’t pointing to a number; it’s in between two numbers. It’s in between the number three and four. In other words, we’ve already gone past three o’clock, and we’re on our way to four o’clock, but we haven’t quite gotten there yet. But we know that once the minute hand makes that final quarter turn, it will be four o’clock. It is quarter to four. Instead of looking backwards at the o’clock time that’s already gone, we’re now looking forwards to the one that’s coming up. The time on the clock is quarter to four.

Chloe and Natalie draw quarter past eight. Who is right?

In this question, we’re told that two children, Chloe and Natalie, have both drawn the time quarter past eight. And we’re shown two clocks. Now let’s spend a moment looking at these two clocks. What’s the same and what’s different?

Well, if we look where the hands on each clock are pointing, we can see that both Chloe and Natalie have drawn their hands so that one of them is pointing to the number three, or at least close to the number three, and the other hand has been drawn so that it’s pointing to the number eight, or near to the number eight. But if we carry on looking more closely at these clock faces, we can see that they’re slightly different. Chloe has drawn the minute hand, or the longer hand, pointing to the number three. But on Natalie’s clock, she’s decided to point this to the number eight.

And the hour hands are different too. Chloe’s decided to draw her hour hand pointing just after the number eight. But Natalie’s decided to draw hers pointing just before the number three. In other words, it’s almost as if the hands have been swapped around from Chloe to Natalie. Perhaps the way we’re going to answer this question best is by trying to draw a quarter past eight for ourselves.

To help us, let’s draw some times of our own. What does the “eight” in quarter past eight mean? It means that it’s a quarter of an hour past eight o’clock. And we know what the hands of a clock look like at eight o’clock, don’t we? The minute hand points straight up to the number 12. And the hour hand that tells us that it’s eight o’clock points to the number eight. A quarter-past time is where the minute hand has moved a quarter of the way around the clock face. Instead of pointing to the number 12, it’s now pointing to the number three. And the hour hand, which was pointing straight at the number eight, has now moved a quarter of the way towards the number nine. It’s moved slightly past the number eight. This is what the time quarter past eight looks like.

Can you see who’s drawn it correctly on their clock face? It’s Chloe. On Chloe’s clock, the minute hand is pointing to the number three and the hour hand is just past the number eight. Natalie’s got the right idea, but she’s muddled up the clock hands, which is an easy mistake to make when you’re telling the time. It’s something we need to watch for. The person who’s drawn quarter past eight correctly is Chloe.

What have we learned in this video? We’ve learned how to tell the time to the quarter hour on analog clocks. We’ve also learned how to record these times in words.

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