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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring Forward for Daylight Saving Time

On Sunday, March 8 Daylight Saving Time or DST begins once again. DST is often incorrectly referred to as "daylight savings time." Other countries call it “Summer Time.” When DST is not observed, we say we are observing "standard time," "normal time" or "winter time."

Unless you live in Hawaii, parts of Arizona, all of American Samoa, Guam, etc. you will be resetting your clocks this weekend, moving them ahead one hour (to 3:00) on Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m. or before you go to bed Saturday night.

Standard time zones were introduced in the US and Canada by the railroads in 1883. Before this development, time in each local area was determined by the sun overhead at high noon method.

The 1918 Standard Time Act made time zones official.
 
Details of making it work were left to the Interstate Commerce Commission, which controlled train schedules. The bill also established DST.

Due to constant bickering and complaining, DST was repealed in 1919. It was re-established nationally during World War II, ending in September 1945. After the war, observance varied depending on where you lived.

The 1966 Uniform Time Act formalized a national DST beginning at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in April and ending on the last Sunday in October. Responsibility was shifted to the Department of Transportation (trains, planes and buses).

During the "energy crisis of 1974," Congress temporarily set the starting days as January 6, 1974 and February 23, 1975, then DST reverted back to the last Sunday in April.

The 1986 Public Law 99-359 shifted the starting date to the first Sunday in April, 1987. The ending date remained the last Sunday in October.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act changed the starting date to the second Sunday in March and the ending date to the first Sunday in November.

The website TimeandDate.com gives a brief (but not complete) overview listing which countries and territories plan to observe DST this year.

You may want to have your students discuss the value of Daylight Saving Time and whether it actually helps us save time in the year 2015. They could list the pros and cons and then take a class vote to find out if it's worth keeping.

In Excel Math, students learn to tell time, calculate time across weeks and years, find time intervals on a number line and much more. Take a look at sample math lessons for Kindergarten through Grade 6 on our website: http://excelmath.com/products.html

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