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Article Summary: The question is very simple, try asking someone who was raised using digital watches what time it is when they see an analog clock. In many cases, they will say they do not know what time it is. This is a common problem even among students in the late teens and early twenty's.

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Why Every Child Should Wear an Analog Watch

Why should every child wear an analog watch? The question is very simple, try asking someone who was raised using digital watches what time it is when they see an analog clock. In many cases, they will say they do not know what time it is. This is a common problem even among students in the late teens and early twenty's. College professors like it when the clock on the wall is analog, since many students are clock watchers. Professors like it because many students do not know how to tell what time it is, surprising and true.

The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to analog watches. It is difficult to visualize anything related to time, math concepts, or science concepts when looking at the face of a digital watch. However, with an analog watch these are all possible. Most humans are visual and need pictures to help them better understand what is happening and interpret information.

Besides the above, analog watches have specific advantages for learning. They are very helpful for learning fractions, which is something you can not do with a digital watch. Using and analog watch for fractions can be used in the following examples:

  • When the hour hand is on 12 and the minute hand is on 9, we say it is 15 minutes to twelve or a quarter to twelve. The fraction quarter comes from 15 minutes is 1/4 of 60 minutes. The child sees and instant visual representation of the fraction 1/4.
  • Another is when we say it is half past 2 or 2:30. The half means that the hour is half over or we are half way to the next hour. It also represents that 30 minutes are gone in 60 minutes. These are again instant representations of the fraction 1/2.

Another application of analog watches is when learning the phases of the moon in science. For example:
  • Phases of the moon uses terms like 1/4 moon or quarter moon, 1/2 moon or half moon, and 3/4 moon or three quarters moon. These can all be visualized on an analog watch to represent the different phases of the moon. You can tell a child it is 1/2 moon tonight, however do they really understand. Because you can not see the dark half, although you can see the entire face of an analog watch.
  • Another math and science connection is when timing something. You can easily see the second hand sweeping around the clock face on an analog watch. In the case of a digital watch, you need to select several buttons and the child may or may not know how.

Another advantage of an analog watch is that you can use it as a make shift compass if lost or trying to find north and south to find the direction you are heading. To accomplish this you:
  • Place the analog watch horizontal with the hour hand pointing at the sun.
  • Next take a short blade of grass, piece of straw, or small thin stick and lay it on the face of the analog watch.
  • Place the piece of straw or other object half between the hour hand and 12.
  • Now the piece of straw is pointing to north and south.
  • You just need to know that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West to determine which direction you are heading.

Students have now developed the ability to find the point on a compass for math, science, and social studies class. Try doing all this with a digital watch, it can not be done.