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Stop the Clock for Two

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Here’s a game to play with a grown-up!


How do you play?
You'll need a grown-up to play with.
You’ll also need a set of blank clock faces, or you could use the interactive version.

Set the time on the clock to 6 o’clock to start the game.
Starting with the grown-up, take it in turns to move the hands of the clock on by ½ or 1 hour. For example, the grown-up could choose ½ hour, so that the clock hands move to 6.30, then you might choose 1 hour, moving the hands to 7.30, and so on.
The winner is the person who moves the hands exactly onto 12 o’clock.

Does it make a difference if you go first instead?
What happens if the grown-up gets to 10.30? Why?
Can you work out a winning strategy?
Notes for grown-ups
Stop the clock helps to develop children’s fluency with telling the time and calculating time intervals. However, the real challenge is to find a winning strategy!

Easier version: start at 9 o’clock instead of 6 o’clock.
Harder version: try using different time intervals e.g. ¼, ½ or ¾ hour.

Repeat the game, aiming to find a winning strategy, then talk together about how it was found.

There's a classroom version of this game here.