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Daylight Saving Time lesson plans for homeschoolers

Daylight Saving Time for many in Minnesota brings cheers for sunlight after a long winter. For homeschoolers it might also bring the need to answer questions about this ritual. Lesson plans with historical facts, map activities, games, and creative writing help students understand this concept.

There are several lesson plan ideas for educators about the history of Daylight Saving Time and attempts to answer: Why do we change our clocks? Lessons on this topic can begin with establishing a knowledge base. Ask children for all of their ideas, even those off-the-wall ones, for why most Americans change time on clocks at odd hours each year. Keep this list to look back on as the lessons continue.

Lessons for Daylight Saving Time can also incorporate different ways to measure time, such as Standard and Military. For the younger students, the addition and subtraction of units of time can be included.

The creation of a timeline can help students understand the progression of events which have lead to where we are with Daylight Saving Time. Examples of events to be included are the influences of railroads to establish time zones and the formal passing of The Uniform Time Act in 1966. More details can also be found at the United States Naval Observatory (USNO).

After establishing the timeline for Daylight Saving Time, have students map the various locations that either do or do not follow the time changes. It is also an appropriate time to review the time zones in the United States and map these as well.

A game can be played where students are paired and told they will be making phone calls to friends in various locations across the country. For example, one student might be calling from California at 3:00 p.m. and have to determine what time it is for the friend he is calling in Florida. For older students this game could involve international phone calls and countries observing some sort of time change.

For creative writing prompts on the topic of Daylight Saving Time, students could choose from the following choices:
• I like the dark because…
• A new store opened in town offering hours of daylight for purchase and I bought several because…
• I forgot to change my clock and now…
• With one extra hour of daylight I can now...

Daylight Saving Time did not become mandated over night, and it might take younger children a while to understand the series of events which have contributed to the practice. As homeschoolers we can give our children many resources and opportunities for discussion. We might lose an hour of sleep on Saturday, but we still have enough time to help our children learn.
 

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