As part of the common core standards for 4th grade students, elapsed time is a basic but critical concept for them to understand. Elapsed time worksheets are an effective tool to teach this concept, and you can create a variety of different types of problems to engage and interest students.
Teaching elapsed time involves a variety of skills that will come in handy in everyday life:
- Recognizing how time is written
- Time management
Understanding that time is based on intervals of 60 seconds, 60 minutes, and 24 hours rather than multiples of 10 may be the most difficult concept for some students to learn at first. So consider stressing this when you begin teaching.
Creating Elapsed Time Worksheets
One simple type of elapsed time worksheet will simply display two different times and ask the student to write how much time passed in between. These might be good problems to start students with, but you should include context for some of the problems so students will get a feel for why understanding time is important and how to schedule things. For example, a problem could read:
“Mark left school to walk home at 3:20 p.m., but stopped by a store to buy peanut butter and did not arrive at home until 4:15. How much time passed from when Mark left school to when he arrived at home?”
Of course, you could add some graphics to a question like this to keep students interested, such as Mark walking by a school bus or arriving at home.
Another variety of worksheet that can flex students’ mind a bit more is one that asks students to either state the amount of time that passed, or that shows the amount of time that passed and asks students to fill in the missing time. For example:
1) 4:30 p.m. 6:45 p.m. ___________
2) 2:45 p.m. _________ 3 hours and 25 minutes
Multiple-choice questions are a good way to begin teaching time as well. These problems may be easier because the right answer is already shown among the incorrect ones. You can use multiple-choice answers for any of the worksheets discussed above, or use a mix of written-in and multiple-choice answers.