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How to teach your children about daylight saving time

The second Sunday in March marks daylight saving time, and as you and your children get ready to "spring forward," you can use this opportunity to talk about the concept of time and why we have daylight saving in the first place. Here's how to incorporate it into your curriculum for homeschooling:

A quick history lesson
If your child is new to the idea of daylight saving, then a quick history lesson may be in order. Daylight saving time was first introduced in 1918 as part of an act that established time zones in the U.S. However, it was not until the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966 that specific start and end dates were named for daylight saving. Fun fact: Daylight saving time is not federally mandated - states and territories can opt not to participate, and instead stay on standard time year-round. Currently, only Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not set their clocks forward one hour for daylight saving.

Make paper plate clocks
What you'll need:

  • Paper plates
  • Coloring utensils (e.g. markers, crayons)
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Brads (aka metal fasteners)

What to do:
Help your child write out the numbers 1 through 12 around the circumference of the paper plate, and use the brad to attach two pipe cleaners to the center (these will represent the minute and second hands). She can decorate her clock using the coloring utensils or other craft supplies you provide, such as glitter.

Once her clock is complete, use it as a teaching tool to demonstrate how you "spring forward" for daylight saving. You can even have your daughter help you change all of the clocks in your house (along with the one she created) when the time comes.

Convert time around the world
Print out a map of the different time zones around the world, and work with your homeschooler to determine whether the time difference between your hometown and other cities will change when daylight saving time begins. For example, the difference between Eastern Standard Time and Greenwich Mean Time is five hours. Will that still be true once daylight saving is in effect? You can investigate together.

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