The fall-back ritual signifying the end of daylight saving time is almost upon us. Here is the second of a two-part article on how to integrate this topic into your lesson plans before November 7th. A debate idea for middle school and high school students and website resources for all grade levels will help prepare a useful integrated unit.
Daylight saving offers an opportunity for a great debate
Have students separate into 3 groups. One group will represent farmers, another group will consist of airline officials, and a third group will include energy conservationists. Tell the groups they will debate and vote on whether or not to add two full months to the daylight saving schedule (one extra in the spring and one extra in the fall). Have each group research and discuss their stand on this Bill. Your farmers may be against changing clocks because they use sunrise and sunset to begin and end their work day while livestock may be adversely affected by the change. Your airline officials may dispute the Bill because of the problems it will cause with international travel and travel through states who choose not to use DST. The conservationists may support the Bill by stressing the benefits of lowering the consumption of electricity. Hold a class debate and vote on the Bill.
Provide your students will information they may be lacking
Throughout history, we have measured time by the position of the sun. When the sun is highest in the sky, it is noon. As we “chase the sun” across the world, the noon hour changes from one location to the next. How many of your students truly understand why? How many of them know the value of daylight saving and how it can cause controversy with different groups of people? Have your students formed their own opinions about whether or not we should alter time?
Do some research
If you haven’t thought about teaching daylight savings in depth, check out these websites from the California Energy Commission, WebExhibits, and Seize the Daylight. The Incidents and Anecdotes section WebExhibits provides interesting stories describing examples of the historical impact of daylight savings.
Web resources for the classroom
Some other sites that offer classroom resources include a world clock, world time zone map, time-related printables, and SmartBoard-friendly games. The Police Notebook reminds people of other important things they can do while remembering to change their clocks. A Research Guide for Students has compiled a monster list of websites. (A few of the URL’s are old, but there are more than enough active links.)
That should be enough to get you started! Now, if only you could stop time in order to create the unit!