There has been a Binary clock on my desk at school for some years now. I like using it to help students learn Binary numbers. A few years ago I wrote a software version to display on my white board so everyone could see it. (More on that at Can You Explain the Binary Clock?) It works pretty well but today I got an idea. Wouldn’t it be better to have the students set the values in the clock?
A few minutes work over lunch and I modified the program to let me display an empty set of circles that I could have students fill in.
I brought students to the board and gave them a time and asked them to fill in the circles to show the time requested. I think it was a lot easier than it would have been without the template on the white board. It probably let me get more students up at the board working things out which is a plus.
This exercise seemed to work out pretty well today with most students seeming to get the hang of things quickly. After that we talked a bit more about how computers store information using Binary numbers.
Later I remembered how little kids learn to tell time by setting the hands of toy clocks to different times. I wonder if students still learn analog clocks in kindergarten and first grade?