Teachers Parents Students

An Hour Here, an Hour There

Does it take you a bit of time to settle in once the time changes? Did you or members of your family wake up earlier the day after the time changed? Do you notice already the changes in available light during the day? Do you know "why" the time changes? Did we gain an hour or lose an hour? Aren't there just 24 hours... regardless?

It's interesting to note that while observing Daylight Savings Time is not mandatory in the United States (and not even all states participate), Daylight Savings Time is regulated by the Department of Transportation. For a look at the history of Daylight Savings Time and its connection to "travel," see National Geographic's "Daylight Savings Time 2009: When and Why We Fall Back."

The end of Daylight Savings Time last weekend and the changing of clocks "back" an hour may have generated some buzz in the teacher's lounge and in the hallways. But, whether the clocks move forwards or backwards, there are still 24 hours in the day.

Right?

The "A Matter of Time" Science Buddies Project Idea calls into question the assumption that "a day is a day is a day." The project introduces students to several systems of timekeeping used around the world: Standard Time, Sidereal Time, and Solar Time. Are all of them equally accurate? The project uses an online tool to help track and assess the accuracy of time depending on which system of measurement is used. Variations of the project can be used to consider issues related to Daylight Savings Time and Lunar Time.

After drawing conclusions about how many hours there really are in a day, the change in time and the ways in which we react to the change leads nicely to introductory discussions of Circadian Cycles, in humans and in other life forms. The following long-term Science Buddies' project ideas explore patterns of response to the time of day (or to light and dark):

thumbnail
School and family science weekly spotlight:

thumbnail
There was no singular moment of Big Data Bang, but we are living in and heading towards a time of seemingly endless and exponential data explosion—and the race to create solutions and strategies to help tame, store, organize, and make...

thumbnail
Take a sneak peak at an exciting pair of hands-on science and engineering activities that Science Buddies has planned for USASEF visitors and get inspired to make your own robots this week in celebration of National Robotics Week—or experiment with your own catapult project!

thumbnail
Robotics engineers are experimenting with soft robots and robots modeled after biological organisms. With a squishy project at Science Buddies, students can get in on the action and test their own soft, air-powered, robot. A recent story in MIT News...

thumbnail
School and family science weekly spotlight: What conditions cause yeasts to be most active during fermentation?

thumbnail
School and family science weekly spotlight: musical straws.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!


Help With Your Science Project

The following popular posts are designed to help students at critical stages of the science project process.


You may print and distribute up to 200 copies of this document annually, at no charge, for personal and classroom educational use. When printing this document, you may NOT modify it in any way. For any other use, please contact Science Buddies.