How long is a minute?  What can we do in a minute?

You will need: a stopwatch, paper & pencils (or other recording implements).

Activity 1: Estimate a minute

Sit with your head on your arms so that you will not be distracted. When the timekeeper says GO start to estimate or guess when a minute has passed, and when you think a minute has passed sit up and raise a hand. How accurate was your guess?

The timekeeper will make a tally of how many learners sat up in 10 second segments of the minute as an indication of how accurate the group are as a whole. How many guesses in the class were less than a minute and how many are still ‘heads down’ when a minute is up?

Now that you have experienced what a minute is like, this exercise will be repeated and recorded as before. Were you more accurate the second time?

Activity 2: How many jumping jacks in a minute?

The second activity will help you ‘feel’ a minute. How many jumping jacks can you do in a minute?

Description of a jumping jack:

Begin with the feet together and hands by the sides. Jump on the spot like the teacher in the picture, landing with the feet apart and hands raised so that the arms and legs form an X. Jump again landing back in the first position.This counts as one jumping jack.

How many jumping jacks do you think you will be able to do in a minute? Work with a partner. One of the pair will jump and the other will count when the timekeeper gives signals to start and stop jumping. The counter notes down the number of jumps that their partner did. Then you swap roles and repeat the exercise. Keep the records of how many jumps you did.

Activity 3: Re-estimate a minute

How could you make your estimates more accurate? There are 60 seconds in a minute. Another method of estimating time is to count one one thousand, two one thousands, three one thousands and so on up to 60 one thousands.  Alternatively count ‘one Mississippi, two Mississippi,’ etc. up to 60 Mississippi.

Repeat Activity 1 and compare the accuracy with your first attempt. Which method was the best? 

On Friday 10 November 2017 this MathsFun Guinness World Record attempt lesson involved 8309 learners from 8 countries. Thank you to Caroline Bubblz Ainslie, Marion Freeman and Cherri Moseley.

Click here for the JUST A MINUTE worksheet.

Click here for the Notes for Teachers  and Follow Up activities

Click here to download the TELLING THE TIME poster.

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