Understanding Time Zones

Understanding Time Zones:
Grades 3-12

Overview: It used to be that knowing the time zones for your country was enough. But now, with the Internet and e-mail, we find ourselves wondering what time it is in Australia and other parts of the world.
Teacher Preparation: Look up links to other websites. Cut a large sun out of yellow paper.

Procedure Ideas:

* For younger students: create a room sized map by assigning each student a state name to write on a sheet of paper then have them go stand in the proper location for that state. They may need to consult a map or globe first. Divide them by timezones with strips of crepe paper or yarn. Then move the paper sun from one end of the room to the other to simulate the movement of the sun across the country. As you move, have them figure out the time for where they are standing.
* Draw a 1 foot circle divided into 24 sections to make a graphic to place under a globe. Each section represents an hour of the day and rotating the globe shows the time for any given part of the world.
* Older students can benefit from the following Web links, and from discussions of the International Date Line and Greenwich Mean Time.
* The Directorate of Time, U.S. Naval Observatory
* World Map with time zones
* Discuss situations where knowing time zones is important: placing phone calls to other parts of the country, IRC chats with people in other parts of the world.