The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 3

Notes and Lesson Plans

The Maths of Practical Life: Clocks & Calendars
updated August 19, 2023

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your third grade year. Enjoy!

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Maths of Practical Life: Clocks & Calendars
for Class 3

Waldorf Main Lesson Block Planning: Maths of Practical Life

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The overarching Math topic for the Waldorf Third Grade is "The Maths of Practical Life." This includes Time (Clocks & Calendars), Temperature, Weight, Volume, Linear Measurement, and Money. I always include the Metric System here as well although some save it for a later year when they are teaching decimals and the Metric Stair.

Because Waldorf brings things together in a rich, interdisciplinary way you have lots of choices for how to present and practice these math concepts. Often, Time, Temperature, Weight & Volume are combined into a Baking block. You could even create a family cookbook instead of doing a traditional MLB for this block!

Clocks & Calendars can also be done as its own block (in fact, Jamie York suggests this as a second grade math topic). If that's the case, I recommend the following resources:

I think it would make sense to do a little mini block on Time after the final Old Testament Stories block, where you get to the Babylonian Captivity, since the Babylonians had such an influence on our clocks & calendars

    The Babylonians were the ones who divided the day into 24 hours, the hour into 60 minutes, the minute into 60 seconds

    The Babylonians divided the week into seven days, naming them after the sun, the moon, and five bright stars, which were really planets

    The Romans renamed the days after Roman gods (and we then gave those god names to those five planets)

    The Anglo-Saxons kep the idea but replaced some of the weekday names with their own gods; those names came down to us through Old English and thus we still use them today

    Shamash, Sin, Nergal, Nabu, Marduk, Ishtar, Ninurta

    Sol, Luna, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn

    Anglo-Saxon / Old English
    OE Sonnesdaeg > Sun's Day > Sunday
    OE Monesdaeg > Moon's Day > Monday
    OE Tuwresdaeg > Tyr's Day > Tuesday
    OE Wodenesdaeg > (W)odin's Day > Wednesday
    OE Thoresdaeg > Thor's Day > Thursday
    OE Friyasdaeg > Friya's Day > Friday
    OE Saturnesdaeg > Saturn's Day > Saturday

Games for Practicing Time

    !f you'd like study cardboard clocks with movable hands for practicing, I like eeBoo's

    We don't play this game competitively. Because the cards have a control of error on the back, you can actually just put it on the shelf for your child to practice independently.

    If you want something color coded to the Montessori math materials, the Montessori Teaching Clock by Hello Wood is an excellent choice!

    Topple Blocks blog post
    for a fun way to practice elapsed time

    For elapsed time, you could also have fun with The King, the Dragon, and the Witch by Jerome Corsi. The king is cursed that something terrible (like his chair falling apart) will happen to him every day at four o'clock. Draw some clocks with hands. For each, how much time will it be until four o'clock? What is the terrible thing that will happen that day?

my Maths of Practical Life: Time very detailed blog post from November 6, 2018

The Calendar Project

One of my favorite things to do! You can do a seasonal art calendar starting in first grade, if you want your child to have lots of practice writing numbers.

I've also done two other calendars, both more scientific. These involved measurement because we were creating a calendar using a scale.

One was a scale of time, with each day on the calendar being approximately 12.5 million years. The art month by month showed how life on Earth evolved from its initial formation to the present day. A very good project for 4th grade, if you do the Timeline of Life as a main lesson block.

The other was a scale of depth, and the art month by month showed what lives in the layers of the ocean as you go from the surface to the very bottom of the Mariana Trench. This could work for any grade, as kids are fascinated by the ocean and it's an easy scale to calculate.

As it turns out, the deepest part of the ocean -- the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench -- is believed to be 36,070 feet. With 12 months and each piece of art being 12 inches tall, we will have 144 inches of height. The math is easy; our scale will be 1 inch = 250 feet.

These are more content-heavy instead of just the seasonal art, but they are really fun to do!

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Measurement.

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