Roman numeral clock faces (2)

roman numerals clock 2Our Roman numerals clock face worksheet has proved very popular so I thought I would post another similar page, but including quarter to and quarter past the hour times. I have also been asked why the clock face shows IIII for four o’clock rather than IV. In fact most Roman clockfaces do show the four Is and nobody is sure why.

One reason is that when looking at the numerals opposite to each other – all of them are in perfect balance, except for the ‘heavy’ VIII and the ‘light’ IV; optical balance is re-established by printing an also ‘heavy’ IIII.

Another reason which has been given is to do with the old casting process of the numerals; ‘ Since some numerals were cast out of metal, or carved out of wood or bone, you need 20 I’s, 4 V’s, and 4 X’s, even numbers of each, if you use four I’s for “four”. The molds would produce a long centre rod, with 10 I’s, 2 V’s, and 2 X’s on each side.’

A third possibility is that clocks use IIII rather than IV out of respect for the Roman God Jupiter, the king of the Gods,  whose name, in Latin, begins IV (the V being the U we now use, the I the J). Very old sun dials seem to use the IIII and early clocks followed suit; it has also been suggested that Wells Cathedral clock, one of the earliest cathedral clocks used the IIII and everyone copied this, and yet another reason is that Louis XIV preferred IIII over IV and ordered all clocks to be made in this way, and it has remained like this ever since.

Finally it has also been suggested that Romans were not great at subtraction so IIII was easier to work out than IV! I have no idea which, if any of these has the best claim to being true but interestingly Big Ben uses the IV convention.

Roman numerals clock  2

Roman numeral clock faces

roman numerals clockOne of the new targets for maths in year 3 will be to, ‘tell and write the time from an analogue clock, including using Roman numerals from I to XII’. As I haven’t published any time sheets using Roman numerals I thought that now was the perfect opportunity; so here it is!
It is best that children are introduced to the Roman system of numbers before doing this worksheet, although it is interesting to understand that many adults do not look at the numbers around the clock, just the angle of the two hands and indeed many fashion watches fail to have numbers on at all, but we still manage to be able to tell the time.

This page sticks to just whole hours and half hours, although perhaps it should be pointed out that Julius Caesar and his chums would never had read the time in this way!!

Roman numerals: clock faces

Year 2: Time. What can you do in one minute?


Getting a clear concept of amount of time is important for young children. This page challenges children to complete a number of tasks in one minute, such as how tall a tower can be built using blocks/lego etc.

An important part of this is to make sure that they make an estimate/guess before starting which shows how realistic they are about time. One minute is a short time, but it is surprising how much can be achived in just 60 seconds!

This resource can be found in our Year 2 measurement section.

One minute

Ordering lengths of time in Year 2

It is in year 2 that children really get to grips with time. Targets include telling and writing the time to five minutes, including using terms such as quarter to and quarter past the hour. They are also expected to be able to compare and sequence lengths of times, which is where this worksheet comes in. It looks at ordering lengths of time and uses both time in minutes and the quarter and half hours. Children will need to know that half an hour is thirty minutes and a quarter of an hour is 15 minutes.

Order lengths of time

Thanks to for giving persmission to use this page.

Key Stage 2 SAT questions on time

Time questions are very popular with the SAT test writers and this page shows some typical examples, using tables and charts.

Children often get confused by questions which say that an event was earlier or later when looking at a calendar. If it was earlier then the number of days have to be subracted. On a calendar moving up one position will subtract 7 days – useful when counting back.

Many more time questions can be found in the year 6 category, under Key Stage 2 Maths SAT Practice.
KS2 SAT maths worksheet: Time (p 4)

Year 4 maths worksheet: more on time

By the end of year 4 it is expected that most children will be confident with reading the time but this is not always the case and this worksheet is a follow up to one published in April. It looks at reading the time using a 12 hour clock.

The first set of questions looks at writing times in digits, using the convention of separating the hours and minutes by a colon.

The second set of questions looks at writing times in words. Of course we can often do this in more than one way, and this can be confusing for children. For example: ‘5:50 can be said as ‘five fifty’ or ‘ten to six’. Interestingly we generally do not use minutes to the next hour for any time before the half hour. It sounds rather strange to say ’40 minutes to six’, although this is technically correct.

A favourite type of question in the SAT Papers is to ask what time it will be a quarter or half an hour before/after a given time. The last set of questions gives a little practice with this.

More on time (2)

Year 4 maths worksheet: time

This maths worksheet takes a closer look at the different ways that we say what the time is and is probably most suited to year 4 children.

Reading the time often proves to be a tricky subject for children and there are several reasons for this. One is that many children seldom see a clock face other than a digital display. Another reason is that we have various ways of saying the same time.

For example: 9:50 can be said as ‘nine fifty’ or ‘ten to ten’.

This worksheet asks children to write times using digits, write times in words using minutes past and minutes to the hour as well as working out times a quarter or half hour before and after the time given. These types of question are very popular in the Year 6 SAT papers so there is no harm in using this page with older children who are struggling with understanding and answer time questions.

More on time (1)

Telling the time in Year 2


Time is one of the most searched for subject areas on the site. By the end of year 3 children are expected to read the time on a 12 hour digital clock, and to the nearest 5 minutes on an analogue clock. They are also expected to be able to calculate time intervals and find start and finishing times for a given time interval.

This worksheet looks at working out the times of TV programmes and how long they last. Working within units of 5 minutes much of this is straightforward. However working out the start times is a little more tricky and children need to be confident with telling the time to 5 minutes.

Newspapers and TV programme listings are a really good source of material for work on time and can also result in a lot of discussion about favourite programmes etc. They can also be used as a data source for graph work.

This page and others can be found in the Year 2 Measuring category.

TV programmes: telling the time

Year 4 maths worksheet: Word problems involving time

It’s not easy finding maths worksheets on topics such as word problems involving time, but here is a follow up page to one published earlier this year, suitable for Year 4 on.

One type of problem involves counting in minutes, with questions such as:

Dan started to walk to school at 7.50. He took 50 minutes. What time did he arrive at school?

Children often find working these out quite tricky, although usually the best way to do them is to count on. In this case I would add on one hour and then take 10 minutes off.

The second type of question involves days and months of the year, such as:

Alfie went for a fortnight’s holiday on 23rd July. On what date did he return from holiday? In this case it would be worthwhile pointing out that he would return on the same day of the week as he left and that travel companies really mean 14 nights rather than 14 days. A tricky one!

It also means that the number of days in a month need to be known.

Solve problems with time (2)

Year 4 maths worksheet on time


By year 4 children are expected to know that:

1 week = 7 days
1 day = 24 hours
1 hour = 60 minutes
1 minute = 60 seconds

This maths worksheet uses this knowledge to answer  some straightforward questions. It also requires a calculator so more detailed information can be found, such as the number of minutes in a week. This, in turn, can lead on to some interesting investigative work, such as finding out how long a year is in minutes, and then how many minutes you have been alive (not forgetting leap years). It is quite an eye opener to realise how many precious minutes have been taken up in queues, traffic jams etc!!

This worksheet can be found in our Year 4 resources, under Measures

Days, hours, minutes and seconds