Maths KS1 & KS2: How long is five minutes

Tempo says he’ll be out of the shower in 5 minutes to sing a song with Sabrina.

She doesn’t believe him, and asks the children for ways of timing 5 minutes.

They suggest stopwatches, timers and clocks, and say when measuring 5 minutes is useful, for example when they are taking turns.

The children make Tempo a clock birthday cake, complete with 12 numbers and 60 minute markers.

The children use the 5 fingers on their hands to count the intervals between the numbers.

From BBC Series Round the Clock.

Teacher Notes


Children can use this to investigate the number five.

If each person has five fingers on each hand, how many hands would you need to show 10 fingers? 30 fingers? 60 fingers? 15 fingers?

Count in fives, initially whispering the numbers that are not multiples of five and say the multiples of five loudly so that the children learn the pattern.

Count the little lines round the clock to check that there are five little lines between each pair of numbers.

Count round the clock in fives, pointing to each number to work out how many little lines there are.


Children could make a time number line, starting at 0 and marking in five-minute intervals.

Label each interval 5 past, 10 past, 15 past… 55 past, o’clock.

Continue the time number line for another 60 lines (a further hour). Write further labels of quarter past, half past.

Count backwards in fives from o’clock and write labels of 5 to, 10 to, 15 to… etc.

In pairs, write some questions to challenge others e.g. I started maths at five past 9 and worked for 40 minutes. What time did I finish? Use the time number line to help work these out.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Maths at KS1 and KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and First and Second Level in Scotland.

More from Round the Clock:

How long is a second?
How long is a minute?
How long is quarter of an hour?
How long is half an hour?
How long is an hour?
Using clocks and calendars
A song about time