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It’s time for the lazy, long days of summer… Create your own sundial with RAFT’s hands on activities.

“Time and Tide waits for no man.” This famous saying comes to mind when it’s time again to set our clocks forward on March 11th 2012, and lose one hour of sleep!

Why is there Daylight Savings Time (DST)?  Basically it is because many people want to gain additional daylight during the early summer evenings.  So, clocks are advanced forward by one hour in the spring, and in the fall, are again set back one hour (the phrases “spring forward” and “fall back” help you remember this).

As we get ready to work on the hour hand on our clocks, Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT) takes a look at many, fun hands on educational activities based on RAFT Idea Sheets that you can use to innovatively teach your students the concept of time.

With the RAFT ‘Time for Shadows’ Idea Sheet activity you can quickly assemble an equatorial sundial that you can easily adjust for daylight savings time. With just drinking straws, protractor, compass and a CD, your third and fourth graders can create a sundial and, learn about sun positions and shadows!

Or you can use a view binder cover, a watch, a paperclip, straws, compass and other easily accessible resources to create the RAFT ‘View Binder Sundial’ that our forefathers used to track the sun’s movement to tell time before clocks came into existence!

Young learners can also create a hands on sand timer (based on the concept of an hourglass) and learn how to measure time. This RAFT Activity, ‘Sand Timer Primer’ also enhances their investigation and experimentation skills. For more ideas please click here.

DST has been used throughout much of the U.S., Canada, and Europe since World War 1. Today, about 70 countries around the world observe DST in some form, including most of the United States, but U.S. Federal law does not require its observance.  For instance, Arizona, Hawaii, and the territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa do not use DST since these areas receive so much sun throughout the year that it is not helpful to gain another hour of sunlight in the summer. 

Since 2007, DST begins on the 2nd Sunday of March, and ends on the 1st Sunday of November. Ah! Here’s to those lazy, long days of summer! 

Do you have great hands on activity ideas for measuring time? Please share it with us by sending us an email or giving your comments below!

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