Introduction of Clockwise/Counterclockwise Circles

During student teaching I planned a lesson to introduce clockwise/counterclockwise circles to a student who does not know how to tell time. After one lesson I realized I needed to go back to the drawing board and think of a creative way to teach the concepts with a completely different approach than how I first attempted. After some searching on Pinterest and lots of brainstorming I developed this lesson.

(This is good if you order a braille clock and it doesn’t arrive in time for your lesson…not that I know from experience)

I first let my student examine clocks of different sizes to emphasize the circular shape.


I then introduced this paper plate and had the student identify the shape. I cut 12 slits into a paper plate to represent the 12 numbers/hours on a clock and had the student fold each slit over in order.



Once the student demonstrated understanding of these concepts I introduced the hands of the clock. I told the student the hands move in the same direction that the numbers are place and asked the student to rotate the pipe cleaners in clockwise circles and together we counted 1-12.

I then had the student repeat this task with a plate that did not have slits.


And to build complexity I then gave the student a plate without pipe cleaners or slits and asked him to trace clockwise circles.


The lesson can also be used as a method to teach counterclockwise circles by talking about how the hands of the clock do not move in the opposite directions of the numbers and the complexity can be developed the same way.

I also placed a paper plate on top of a plus shaped intersection tactile model to begin teaching the student about street crossings going in either direction. The student can trace the outside of the paper plate and count the corners, but this is just one idea of numerous options that these ideas can be used.


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