I may earn money from companies mentioned in this post at no cost to you. Thank you!
This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
As your first grade students get more comfortable with your math center routines, you know it’s time to start tackling some of the harder concepts. Learning how to tell the time is a lifelong skill they need to master, but finding ways to present it in a fun way can be tricky. Fortunately, this feeding time at the zoo packet gives your students a reason to learn to tell the time, and can become part of a bigger zoo animals theme lesson plan that could talk about the habitats the animals would need in the zoo and the kinds of food that your junior zookeepers would need to provide for the animals at the correct time.
Why Is Telling The Time Tricky?
For some reason, learning how to tell the time can be one of the hardest skills for a first grade student to read. The idea that there is a combination of one and two digit numbers that you have to read in a certain way on a digital clock causes plenty of confusion, and learning how to read a clock with hands is hard as they have difficulty understanding that the hour hand counts by ones, while the minute hand counts by fives. However, it’s a life skill to master, and this match analog to digital clock game is a great way to help students see the connections between the two time formats.
Preparing Feeding Time At The Zoo
For this activity you will need:
If you don’t have the materials needed, don’t sweat! You can get it delivered to your doorstep really quickly with Amazon Prime. You can get a 30-day free trial here.
This match analog to digital clock game is quick and easy to use; just download, print the set and cut each puzzle out. You can then either play match, memory or one of the sorting games as detailed below.
Scaffolding Activities For Learning How To Tell The Time
Some of your students will already know how to read a clock with hands, but there will be plenty of first graders who haven’t been exposed to this skill yet. Try some of these scaffolding activities to build up their skills and confidence with telling the time:
Use physical clocks – you can buy class sets of plastic clocks that have hour and minute hands that students can manipulate. You can use these to demonstrate how the hour hand represents whole hours as it moves around the clock and how the minute hand counts by fives as it moves around.
Create a daily schedule – your students will quickly learn the routines and daily patterns of your classroom, so it makes sense to add the times that each activity happens to help give your students a sense of how long things last and the typical times at which things happen.
Sort the cards – the feeding time at the zoo time cards start at 1 o’clock and increase in half hour increments through half past 12. Start by putting the hour cards out and having students put them in time order, and then do the same task with the whole set. You can challenge students by then removing random cards so they have to think flexibly about time, and you can mix it up by putting a selection of analog and digital times out for them to sort.
Like this? Then you’ll love my 10 Zoo Themed Literacy and Math Centers. These easy-prep games will get your students working on math, literacy and fine motor skills.
1) Feed the Giraffe Counting Mat to 20 – Pick a number card and feed the giraffe that any leaves. Use real leaves, playdough pretend leaves, or green pom poms.
2) How Many Animals Write the Room – Students will go around the classroom visiting the “zoo”. When they spot the animals, they will need to count how many there are and write down the number from 1-10 on the recording sheet provided.
3) Zoo Animal Number Puzzle Strips – 5 different types included (1-10, 11-20, skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s).
4) Arrange by Size – Each animal has 4 different sizes for them to arrange from smallest to biggest or biggest to smallest.
5) Shadow Matching Cards – Look at the animal shown and choose from 3 given shadow options.
6) Zoo Animal Alphabet Strips – Work on handwriting and animal vocabulary at the same time. Each lined strip shows the correct capital letter formation plus an animal that starts with that letter.
7) Syllable Count – Students will look at the labeled animal shown and clap out how many syllables are in its name. Use a paperclip, clothespin or wooden peg to mark the answer.
8) Hippo Alphabet Find and Cover – This activity works on letter recognition for both uppercase and lowercase letters.
9) Animal Alphabetical Order – A-Z animal cards are placed inside a brown paper bag or box “cage”. Students will need to pick out 3 cards randomly and arrange them in alphabetical order on the mat.
10) Short Vowel Sloth – Fill in the missing vowel in the CVC words.
Other Animal Printables You’ll Love:
1) Zoo Animal Sight Words Bingo – Use this as a small group literacy center in your classroom to learn pre-primer Dolch sight words.
4) Count the Chickens – practice counting from 1 to 10 with these clip cards.
5) Bird Theme 3-Part Cards – learn different types of birds in this Montessori-style activity.
8) Unicorn Ten Frame Mats – make math a little more magical while teaching one-to-one correspondence, counting, and the use of ten frames.
9) Dog Bone Math Game – Count up the bones and solve the simple sums within 10.
Educational Tools For Your Classroom:
Browse My Most Popular Math Printables:
1) Parking Cars Tracing Lines – More than 10 different tracing line patterns to choose from, all of which help with pencil control.
2) Scarecrow Arrange By Size – 3 different scarecrow-themed image sets that they will arrange from smallest to biggest.
3) Bumblebee Addition Game – Solve the sum and help the bee land on the correct flower!
4) Farm Shapes Mats – Use playdough, pompoms, stickers etc to learn 2D shapes.
5) Popsicle Stick Number Formation – Kids will love forming the numbers 1 to 10 when ice cream and popsicles are involved!
8) Counting Colorful Bugs – This printable book will help kids count to 10 while also learning about color words.
9) Humpty Dumpty Numbers – In this printable game, your students will practice number recognition using 1 dice or simple addition when using 2 dice.
10) Build A Number Santa – Match the number to the correct number word, tally mark and domino to form a Santa Claus
** To download this free printable please enter your email address below. Afterwards, the form disappears to reveal a clickable link – “Click here to download this printable”. Save it to your desktop or Google Drive as you need.
You’ll also be added to my newsletter list, giving you access to the Subscriber Library which has more than 500+ pages of worksheets free! **