What Time Is…

I saw a contest the other day that was open to “Scientists Only”. Of course, they didn’t say what qualified the entry as a “scientist”. I wanted to enter the contest, but never got the time (pardon the pun). I consider myself a scientist of sorts and saw no reason why I shouldn’t. I used to teach science to 8th graders (my deep dark secret). To win the contest, the entrant had to explain ‘time’ to eleven-year-olds in 300 words or less. A daunting task, yes, but it caught my attention and piqued my interest. Three days later, I’m still pondering the problem so I thought I would give a go here on my blog.

Time is like the wind. Neither is visible; both can be felt. Wind is made of air; time is made of light. Both are the result of motion; neither can be moved. Light is the source of both wind and time. As light travels through space, time is created. As light warms the earth, wind is created. As air travels across the earth, we measure wind by the ‘time’ it takes for it to get from one place to another. As light travels across the surface of the earth, we calculate time by the distance it moves.

The measurement for time on earth is the distance around the earth. The measurements for time are based on the shape of the earth which can be imagined as a spinning basketball. Time is measured by dividing this ball into smaller and smaller sections. The ball has twenty-four sections called hours. Each hour has 60 sections called minutes. Each minute has 60 sections called seconds. As light reaching the ball from the sun travels across the surface of the ball, lighting up each of these sections one after another, we say time is passing in seconds, minutes and hours. We cannot see ‘time’, but we can see the earth changing from night to day as the light from the sun moves across the surface.

images (4)

The line between night and day as seen in this image moves around the earth one time in 24 hours completing one day.

That explanation is 244 words long. Does it explain time? Or not? Or what?

4 thoughts on “What Time Is…

  1. snowfireangel says:

    Very, very good explanation, Brendan! Why was teaching science to 8th graders a deep, dark secret? That’s pretty impressive…

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence. But I try to keep my short teaching career a secret because it was during the no pass/no play era and according to several parents of aspiring football players “I” failed “their” sons and made losers for life of them. I enjoyed teaching. It was an adventure, but the system was literally falling apart in front of my eyes and the parents were more of a problem than the kids. Unfortunately, we see where this mindset has gotten us in 2013. Thank you so much for leaving a comment.

      • snowfireangel says:

        First, Brendan, you do know this is Heidi, right? LOL! Anyway, I totally agree with you about our educational system continuing to fail and fall apart…now they’re “teaching to the test” – well, that’s been going on for years, but I see it even more with my granddaughter. Anyway, you deserve the “vote of confidence”. 🙂

      • Uhhhh, I do now! 🙂 You’re right, though. They are teaching to the test. When I was in college doing student teaching, they came out with the literacy test for teachers. I took the prototype in one of my classes and thought it was pretty “dumbed down”. After I graduated, I took the actual test. They gave us 6 or 8 hours to take the test. I even packed a lunch. I was done in 2 hours and out the door. I was appalled at the level of education teachers did NOT have to aspire to. I was further amazed to learn that a sizable number of experienced teachers actually failed the test several times and lost their certificates. It’s a sad situation.

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