A reader wrote in to ask how to differentiate a lesson about reading analog clocks. What happens if a student has already mastered the task?

This is a perfect example of a topic that doesn’t really have a “higher-level” version. Sure you could give *more* worksheets or *harder* times to read, but neither of those inspire or elevate thinking.

But what if we just ask ourslves: *what’s interesting about clocks?* What if we just use “interesting” as an entry point for designing an engaging learning activity?

### An Interesting Topic

To me, two things jump out as *very* interesting about clocks:

- The mechanism that moves the hands.
- The really weird time units of 24 and 60.

And, if *nothing* stands out as interesting, hop over to The Wikipedia Wormhole and search for clocks. Eventually you get this page, packed with incredible clock-related topics such as:

- Sundials
- Water clocks
- Candle clocks
- and dozens more

Pick a topic for the student or allow her to choose for herself.

### Create A Question

Now, build a question around the topic.

- How do clocks’ gears work?
- Why do we divide days into 24 hours, hours into 60 minutes, and minutes into 60 seconds?

Structure either one as a full differentiated objective with an intriguing final product (use The Differentiator if you’d like):

> I will investigate the origins of units of time using [whatever resources you want] and create a presentation [or an essay, or a comic strip, or a skit].

Now, while you continue to work with struggling students, this gal is exploring an intriguing topic that might take her to Ancient Babylon *and* introduce her to a non base-10 number system!

Next time you’re stuck on how to take a task to the next level, consider what is the most interesting part of the topic.

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