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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):

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies Summer Science Roundup


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Visual illusions and other optical puzzles are fun for families to share and explore. With hands-on science projects and activities, students can create and test their own visual illusions--including a cool infinity mirror!

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School and family science weekly spotlight: the science of marinades

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A fun SimCity science project from Science Buddies helps turn in-game city planning into a science experiment, one students can also use to enter the annual Future City competition.

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What do gears and tires have to do with who wins a race—or how long it takes to ride to the corner store? Find out with hands-on sports science projects that help tie science to the sports kids love to do and watch.

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When you combine your circuitry know-how with fabric, you can, literally, wear your electronics on your sleeve. Students experiment with e-textiles.

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What variables make a game popular with players, and do boys and girls choose different types of games? Design a survey-based science project this summer and do some statistical analysis of the data you gather. Your results might be eye...



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!



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