A Telling Time Math Project with A Narrative Twist

Your telling time unit is the perfect opportunity to connect math to the real world in a creative way. Rather than having your students complete worksheet after worksheet in an effort to master reading clocks and telling time, bring your math unit to life with an engaging hands-on project

If you’ve been wracking your brain trying to think of a creative way to bring more excitement to your telling time unit, look no further. The project based learning unit Time of Your Life will be your new go-to resource. The organization, standards alignment, and cross-curricular connections have all been planned out for you so you can focus your energy on the most important (and fun) part of your job…the teaching! 

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project Overview

The Time of Your Life project guide makes differentiation a breeze and is perfect for both second and third grade classrooms.

Let’s take a closer look at this telling time project based learning (PBL) resource. 

Project Overview

During this math project, your students will compete in a contest to be the next star of a new hit show, The Time Of Your Life. Each contestant must brainstorm activities they would love to do if they were able to have the birthday of their dreams. 

Students will take their ten favorite activities and create a day-long birthday schedule with no time gaps. They will elaborate on this schedule by creating a narrative storyboard that tells the story of the birthday of their dreams using a narrative introduction, transitions, show-not-tell descriptive details, and a narrative conclusion. The lucky winner will get to star in their very own episode of The Time Of Your Life, and participate in every activity planned on his/her birthday schedule!

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math simulation engagement page to use on the first day you launch your project

This project based learning unit requires the application of students’ knowledge of telling time and elapsed time. Throughout the process of the Time of Your Life simulation, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Apply their knowledge through creative design
  • Use narrative writing that incorporates their math knowledge
  • Exercise their organization skills as they plan and execute this multi-day project

Math Skills Students Will Practice During This Telling Time Project

The main focus of this math project is on 2nd and 3rd grade telling time standards. Throughout the project, students will:

  • Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m. (for second graders).
  • Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes (for third graders).

In addition to these important math skills, students will also practice their narrative writing as they tell the story of their special birthday plans in narrative format. This is the perfect opportunity for students to practice using narrative transitions that show the passing of time. 

Time of Your Life Simulation Steps

Here are the steps your students will take as they work to have the birthday of their dreams featured on the show The Time of Your Life:

★ Brainstorm activities for the birthday of their dreams by applying knowledge of a.m. and p.m. hours. Then, calculate the start time and end time of each scheduled activity on analog clocks and in digital/standard form by applying knowledge of duration and elapsed time.

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project  sample showing how students demonstrate knowledge of AM and PM hours

★ Create a day-long birthday schedule with no time gaps by pulling their top ten favorite activities from their a.m. and p.m. brainstorm pages. Display this schedule in chronological order. Describe each activity, provide its duration, show the start time and end time on an analog clock, and write the start and end time in digital form.

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing how students demonstrate knowledge of elapsed time when creating a daily schedule

★ Design a storyboard featuring each activity from their dream birthday schedule.

  • Set the scene with a narrative introduction.
  • Use narrative transitions to show time progression from one activity to the next.
  • Wrap up their birthday story with a narrative conclusion.
Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing how students write their birthday schedule in narrative format using transitions

★ Write a cover letter with a date, greeting, body, and closing, and attach it to their submission packet for the contest.

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing the cover letter students submit with their project packet

★ Complete a self-assessment of their project using a three-part rubric. Each of the project deliverables described above has its own section on the rubric so students can participate in a very specific and fair assessment process as they demonstrate their learning.

Saving You Time & Making Differentiation Possible 

Want to incorporate a project into your telling time unit, but crunched for instructional time?

This resource makes prepping for project based learning a breeze and makes implementation seamless. The detailed visual instructions on each page of the guide make it possible for students to complete their unique projects with maximum independence so you have the time you need to teach or reteach essential time measurement skills to small groups.

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing detailed visual instructions that boost student independence

Scoring and providing students with feedback is also when using the included rubric. Each of the three project phases: preparation, storyboard, and project assembly have its own rubric so students can participate in the assessment process as they demonstrate learning, and you can provide them with specific feedback about their work.

Ideas for Using This Time Measurement Project Based Learning Guide 

Every step of the Time of Your Life experience is outlined in a project guide that includes clear visuals and step-by-step instructions. Rubrics and reflection prompts will encourage your students to reach their learning goals. 

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing the project rubric next to a completed project

This project gives students the opportunity to exercise the standards for mathematical practice, share their creativity, and display understanding in unique and engaging ways.  

The format of this math simulation guide makes it an ideal resource for:

★ At your seat & hands-on enrichment during math workshop or guided math

★ Math center work

★ Digital learning (a Google Slides version of the entire project is included) 

★ Parent volunteer or teacher’s aide enrichment station

★ A focal point for a telling time room transformation 

★ An alternative telling time assessment that allows you to measure student understanding on a deeper level as a culmination to your time measurement unit.  

Bring This Telling Time Project to Your 2nd or 3rd Grade Classroom

Whether you’re looking to bring your telling time unit to life, searching for an activity that provides enrichment to your high flyers while you teach small groups, or you want a more engaging way to assess your students’ ability to tell time to the nearest minute or nearest five minutes, you and your students will love Time of Your Life! 

Core Inspiration Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project Cover

Video Preview of This Math Project

Visit the Time of Your Life resource page to purchase this math project for your classroom today.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.


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I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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