Daylight saving time is designed to allow for more hours of daylight during the fall and winter months. We move the clock ahead one hour in the spring and back again one hour in the fall; the saying “Spring ahead, Fall behind” can be used to help remember what happens to clocks each year.
First proposed by George Hudson, a New Zealander, in 1895, it took several decades to fully catch on. While we did not adopt Daylight Saving Time in the United States until 1918, Germany instituted it in April of 1916; so Daylight Saving Time turned 100 years old in 2016! Daylight Saving Time is not used in all countries or even in all parts of the United States; some areas implement it and some do not.
Mythbusting Daylight Saving Time
Benjamin Franklin is often credited with creating the idea of Daylight Saving Time, he did not actually invent the concept. The noted statesman did advocate early rising and a good work ethic, but not the actual concept of DST, according to National Geographic.
Daylight Saving Time was not created to benefit farmers or the agricultural industry; before industrialized farming, farmers simply rose with the sun regardless of the time.
Proponents of Daylight Saving Time cited its benefits for energy efficiency and fuel consumption, but it does not have a big impact on sustainability now. During the energy and fuel crisis in the 1970s, DST allowed some consumers to save money on home and vehicle energy use.
Incorporate Daylight Saving Time into Your Classroom
Daylight Saving Time activities can be used to boost student awareness of the practice and to enhance lessons in Math, Science and History.
For Math, Daylight Saving Time allows for conversations and activities related to time. From converting minutes to hours, to understanding how to read a clock or watch, Daylight Saving Time is a natural tie in for math projects and learning.
In Science, activities that reinforce the ways the rotation and location of the Earth impact the time of day that the sun rises and sets are a natural match for Daylight Saving Time.
History students will enjoy learning about the ways that Daylight Saving Time impacts state, local and national governments and the reasons that different governments have chosen to enact Daylight Saving Time or decided to avoid the time change entirely.
From practice drills and games that study time to learning about why the days get shorter in the colder months, Daylight Saving Time offers many opportunities in the elementary school classroom.