In a Minute


This is an activity based on the picture book In a Minute

Achievement Objectives
GM2-1: Create and use appropriate units and devices to measure length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), turn (angle), temperature, and time.
GM2-2: Partition and/or combine like measures and communicate them, using numbers and units.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Students will be able to accurately estimate the duration of time using the units of minute and second.
  • Students will be able to measure the duration of events using stopwatches and other timers.
Description of Mathematics

Our language is filled with colloquial sayings that are not always mathematically accurate, for example: “in a minute”, “24/7”, “all day long”, “forever”. Making a distinction between the literal and the figurative use of vocabulary can help prevent or correct mathematical misconceptions.

Required Resource Materials
  • In a Minute by Beth Shoshan
  • Stop watches
  • Timers
  • Copymaster 1 (includes list of materials for timer project)

Measuring Minutes

This activity is based on the picture book In a Minute

Author: Beth Shoshan
Illustrator: Shelagh McNicholas
Publisher: Little Bee (2004)
ISBN: 978-1-84539-240-6

The main character, Molly, who finds out that a minute isn’t really a minute when you’re a busy and creative child, explores the common expression “in a minute”.

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Prior to reading the book ask students how many of them have heard the expression ”in a minute!”
    When do people say this? What does it mean? Do they really mean exactly one minute? How long is a minute?
  2. Use a stop watch and ask students to stand around the room facing the wall and when you say “Go” ask them only turn around and face the middle of the room when they think a minute as passed. Let them know when a minute is actually up.
    How many people estimated it was shorter or longer than the actual time?
    Try a few more activities like clapping for exactly a minute or trying not to blink for a minute or hopping on one foot for a minute. These will help students get an experiential feeling for exactly one minute.
  3. Share the book with your students. Practice working with stop watches and doing 1 minute “tests” - like clapping, running, writing you name etc.
  4. Have a number of timers (sand and baking) for students to explore. Use the stopwatches to investigate how long the sand timers’ durations are.
  5. Create a 1-minute salt timer. Sand is difficult to use as it is very hard to get it completely dry and it can clog. Salt will run freely in dry containers.
  6. Depending on the age and ability of your students you can either set the 1-minute timer as a challenge letting them figure out a way to create a timer that is as close to one minute in duration as possible, or you can provide the procedure in the copymaster and work in a more supported way.
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Level Two