Top Ten Ways To Use A Stopwatch In The Classroom

by Shenron on June 23, 2012


There are many helpful ways to use a stopwatch in the classroom. In this article we identify ten ways for a teacher to use a stopwatch. Each of these methods will encourage student participation and make the classroom more fun. We especially recommend using an online stopwatch, meaning a stopwatch application that you can use online for free, right in your web browser. Using an online stopwatch is especially helpful in the classroom as it can be projected on a large screen that can be easily seen by all.

So, without further ado, here are some ways that using an online stopwatch can be helpful to teachers.

Quiet Timing

When the classroom begins to get a bit noisy the teacher simply turns on the timer alerting the students that they must quiet down. A set time limit for settling down should be established with the understanding that any time past the set time will be subtracted from recess or another fun time. By having such a consequence students will learn a sense of consequence and responsibility.

Memory Competitions

When studying math or spelling the teacher can split the class into two line ups that will compete against each other. The question will be asked of the first student in one line and they will be given a set time to answer. If they answer correctly in the set time their team receives a point and the next member of their team gets a chance. If they answer incorrectly the question passes to the next team. This can be done with science, geography or history facts as well.

Science Experiments

Whether studying physics or Chemistry time is often a factor in experiments. For example in a physics experiment you may wish to measure the time a ball takes to roll down an incline as the incline is increased. Or alternatively in Chemistry you may wish to determine the time two chemicals take to complete a color change reaction.

Reading Time

Students may be given a set time to read quietly as individuals. Having a visible stopwatch will alert students to how much time remains which will prevent them from interrupting other student’s focus to ask how much longer. This will also encourage students to continue reading until time is up rather than feeling that time must nearly be up when in reality much time remains.

Test Time

When doing a timed quiz it will help students to budget their time if they have a visible reminder of how much time remains. A large stop watch visible at the front of the class is quite effective. Time budgeting can be encouraged by explaining the principle of focusing the most time on the questions with the highest value.

Recess Fun

At recess time a sense of unity can be established by organizing group activities such as a relay race. Keeping track of each group’s time will encourage them to try to beat their own record as well as just competing against the other teams. By trying to beat their own record even the slower groups can have a sense of accomplishment.

Mental Math Bursts

To encourage children to do basic mental calculations quickly from memory rather than counting on fingers teachers can give mini timed quizzes where the students attempt to answer as many questions as possible in a short set time. This works especially well with addition, subtraction and multiplication tables.

Class Speeches

Speaking in public will encourage children to express their opinions clearly and eloquently. Having a set time for speeches will encourage the lazy student to reach the standard, discourage the over achiever from taking up too much time and help the teacher budget the time necessary for each student to speak. To encourage the students to follow the set time there should be marks subtracted for going too far under or too far over the time limit.

Class Debates

Encouraging students to discuss current issues and hot topics will encourage them to think for themselves and to express themselves clearly and concisely. Students should be allowed to choose their own sides for the debates to prevent the difficult situation of arguing something they do not believe. A debate should be regulated with time limits to prevent one side from getting more time for their statements than the other side.

Show And Tell

Younger students need opportunities to express themselves as well and while they are not yet able to participate in speeches or debates they are able to participate in show and tell which is a more casual form of public speaking. Even a shy child can be outspoken about something they are excited about or that means a lot to them. Another form of show and tell is parent’s day where the child introduces their parent and talks about what they do for work. These casual presentations should have time limits to prevent the more gregarious students from taking over.

Summary

As you can see, a stopwatch is a simple tool, but it’s one that has many very useful applications within a classroom environment.

We have presented many ideas for effective ways to use an online stopwatch in the classroom. There are certainly many other ways available to the creative teacher that we haven’t yet mentioned, but these ten are a good starting place.

Once you begin using an online stopwatch on a beamer in your classes, you’ll see that it will spark a lot of fun, curiousity and user engagement in your students!

About The Author

OnlineClock.net are the creators of one of the world’s most popular online stopwatches. Stop by the Online Clock website today to find lots of free, web-based time tools that can be very useful in the classroom!

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