Measuring  Time
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The sequence of activities in Measuring Time mirrors human progress in the field of timekeeping, so your students actually participate in an important retrospective of science and technology while honing their skills in the design of experiments, problem-solving, and troubleshooting technological devices. Students conduct activities clustered around the following major focuses:
Tracking time through the movement of the sun and moon.
Experimenting with the variables that influence the sinking rate of water clocks.
Determining and experimenting with the variables that affect the motion of pendulums.
Building clock escapement mechanisms and troubleshooting their operation.
Each of these focus areas includes several activities. In some of these, the students

Make sundials by building shadow-casters and tracing the shadows at various times of the day.
Construct personal calenders, using drawings and words to record events of their recent past and predict events of their immediate future.
Observe the moon's phase, predict how it will change over an extended period, and continue observations.
Use flashlights and spheres to model the sun and the phases of the moon.
Use aluminum foil and washers (for weights) to construct a water clock that sinks in 15 seconds.
Track changes in water clocks' sinking rates and pendulums' swinging rates causes by altering one variable.
Construct a Tinkertoy escapement mechanism and refine it to keep its pendulum swinging for as long as possible.
Finally, the students are challenged to use materials of their choice to construct a device of any type that accurately and consistently measures one minute.

The class learns more about both the historical and scientific aspects of timekeeping from the various reading selections included throughout the appropriate sections of the unit.

You may order kits for your classrom by visiting our ordering page.

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