November 1, 2009

Ask your kids what they think the most common noun in the English language is. (Remind them that words like “I” and “the” and “you” and “and” AREN'T nouns!)

After fielding ten or more guesses, reveal this list:

TEN MOST COMMON NOUNS in the English Language:

1. Time
2. Person/People
3. Year
4. Way
5. Day
6. Thing
7. Man
8. World
9. Life
10. Hand

(Source: Oxford University Press, 2006

Wow! Notice that, not only is the #1 word “time,” but THREE nouns out of the top ten are time words (“time,” “year,” and “day”)! We seem to talk and write about time a lot! As we make arrangements with people about work and school and play, driving and picking up (and of course watching TV!), we have to talk about the time. So, yeah, time is pretty important!

Today, Daylight Savings Time ends in the US and Canada.

So, what gives with this Daylight Savings Time “spring forward” and “fall back” stuff? Why do we complicate our lives with resetting our clocks twice a year? Does everyone in the world do it? Who thought of it?

The idea is that, as our days get longer and longer, as we approach the summer solstice, we adjust our clocks to move more of these daylight hours into the afternoon and evening, away from the early morning. This helps most of us who live in cities and whose schedules for work and school don't follow the sun. We don't want the sun shining into our bedroom windows at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, and we often have afternoon and evening activities that benefit from more daylight then. It's been argued that DST saves lives because it reduces traffic accidents, and that it saves energy—but recent research doesn't necessarily back up these claims. The problems with DST include disruption of farming jobs, which are of course tied to the sun;the inevitable mistakes the first day or two as DST begins or ends, as some people forget to reset their clocks; and complications for travelers crossing state or country lines and time zones.

The modern Daylight Savings Time was first suggested in 1895 by a New Zealand entomologist (a scientist who studies insects) named George Vernon Hudson.

Daylight Savings Time is called “summer time” in Europe and Mexico, and the start and end dates are not the same as those used in the U.S. and Canada. Not every state in the United States uses DST—for example, people in Hawaii and most of Arizona don't use it. Not every country in the world uses it, either. Most countries at high latitudes use it, and most equatorial countries don't. Check out the map:

Source: Wikipedia

Kids learning to tell the time might like this website: 
One of the best time zone maps can be found here:
Here is a smaller map:

No comments:

Post a Comment