Maths KS1 & KS2: How long is an hour?

It takes Sabrina an hour to get to work on the train – what can she get done on the journey?

She asks children at the station what they do during their hour-long train journey.

Other children give examples of activities they do which take an hour, such as walking the dog or gymnastics class.

Sabrina has to wait an hour for the paint to dry on her project, and we see how the hands on the clock move in that time.

She’s made new hands for the giant clock in the park – and we see how the two hands move at different speeds to mark the hour.

From BBC Series Round the Clock.

Teacher Notes


Teachers could ask children to look at a clock and see which way the hands move, explaining that this is called 'clockwise'.

Children could be asked to run clockwise or anti-clockwise, referring to the clock to remind them.

The class could play a game where the children are the hour or minute hand. When you say 'hour hand', children must go slowly round the room in a clockwise direction.

When you say 'minute hand', children go quicker in a clockwise direction. When you say 'time goes backwards', children go anti-clockwise.

Time one hour on the clock during a lesson, telling the children when it starts and ends so they begin to recognise how long one hour is.

Make individual clocks using paper plates and put in longer and shorter hands with paper fasteners.


Children could be asked to work out what they can do in one hour. They could work in groups to make a display that shows a range of different things that they can do.

Children could use shorter periods of time (e.g. play time for a quarter of an hour, TV programme for half an hour etc.) to consider how many play times or TV programmes fit into one hour.

Teachers could use a geared clock, asking children to estimate what time it is, using the hour hand only.

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 five minutes
How long is quarter of an hour?
How long is half an hour?
Using clocks and calendars
A song about time