Five-Minute Math Class Warm-Ups: Adding Time Intervals April 04, 2017 02:00

Flower Clock PatternsMaking every minute count in your math class means giving your students something to do the moment they enter the room. It also means letting them know your expectations so no time is wasted with repeating instructions. At this time of the school year, students may need to relearn some of the procedures you (hopefully) taught them at the beginning of the year. You can give them regular opportunities to practice classroom routines so students can easily remember and explain them.

We wanted to give you some tips for finishing the year on a positive note. How wonderful would it be if your students were on task before the bell rings, already beginning the work of learning mathematics (or whichever subject you teach).

Roman Numeral ClockHowever you begin your class, discipline problems are kept to a minimum when your students know they must be on task from the minute they enter the room. And at the end of class, letting them know the bell does not dismiss them—the teacher does—also helps them stay on task until the teacher signals it's time to leave. Having control of the class, filling each moment with well-prepared activities, and setting up a structured way to begin the lesson that they can count on each day provides students with a sense of security and familiarity.   

According to Harry Wong, educational speaker from Mountainview, California, "You would not expect a truck driver to haul an expensive load without first making sure he knew how to drive the truck.Neither can you expect students to succeed if they do not know the routines and procedures of your class." There's no time like the present to get your students on task before class starts. Read more from Harry and Rosemary Wong and download tips from other teachers

Decide on a Warm-Up Activity

Here's a well-thought-out math class warm-up routine from the Teaching Channel: 

You can easily adapt Laura Alcala's "Favorite No" warm-up activity for elementary math classes. Try it out with the clock exercises below and let us know how it works with your students.

Flower Clocks

If your students need practice telling time, print out the Flower Clock patterns shown above onto heavy paper or cardboard (or let students glue a clock pattern onto a paper plate) and give one to each child along with scissors, a cardboard arrow shape, and a brass paper fastener. Help each child punch a hole in the arrow and in the middle of the plate and use the paper fastener to attach the arrow to the clock face. Let your students use their clocks to show various times as you (or a student) write them on the board. 

You may want to alternate writing the times in several formats:

two o'clock
2 o'clock

Then ask your students to tell you what time it will be in 15 minutes. Have them show the new time on their clocks. Finally, have a student write the answer on the board and show the clock to the class so they can check their work. (2:15)

Time Intervals on a Number Line

After your students have had lots of practice with their clocks, show them how to find time intervals on a number line. Copy the Number Line with Time Intervals page for each student. Tell the students a time or write one on the board and have them find it on their nNumber Line with Time Intervalsumber lines. Start with those times marked on the number line and then have the students locate times such as 6:10, 6:35, 7:05, etc. Then ask them to find the time that is 15 minutes more or 10 minutes less than their starting time.

Timed Basic Fact Practice

If your students have access to technology, they'll enjoy this timed math fact practice on the Excel Math website. (Thanks to our friends at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory for creating this timed math game and letting us use it.) You can choose which number should be at the high and low ends of the practice and whether to have your students practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, division (formatted as fractions), or random equations. Try out the Excel Math Timed Fact Practice and see how many problems your students can solve in 60 seconds. Then let your students try to beat their personal best times.

Learn more about how Excel Math can work for your students at Excel Math Teacher Editions are available in three versions: Texas, Common Core, and Standard (Non Common Core) Editions. Download correlations.

If you have additional math warm-ups you've used with your class, feel free to share them in the comment section immediately following this post.

New to Excel Math?  Learn how to get started.