Time zones, DST and the Flat Earthers

Geography

INTRODUCTION

It is 19:00 in Bulgaria and you are about to have dinner. At the same time, someone in London is preparing their five o’clock tea, while yet another one in Los Angeles has just had their morning coffee. All this while a person in Sydney is an hour away from snoozing their morning alarm for five more minutes. This is all possible because the earth has different time zones. And time zones happen because of the spherical shape of the Earth and its rotation around its axis that causes a different amount of sunlight to fall on its surface. This web quest aims to investigate the concept of time zones, to shed some light on the curious facts around them and to make you explore some of the weird consequences of living on a round planet that tends to rotate around the Sun and around its own axis. How is our daily life affected by all this? Does it cause controversy of any kind? Let’s dig into the geographical mysteries and find out!

TASK

You are attending an international Erasmus+ event where students from all over the world will spend a week together on-campus learning about each other’s cultures and traditions. One evening you are about to play the “Truth or wash the dishes” game. The rules are simple: students are divided into national teams. They have to make a statement about something specific in their countries and the other teams will have the task to decide whether this statement is true or false.

The team that does not get guess correctly will have to wash the dishes from the dinner. This evening the theme of the game is “time zones”.

These are the statements from your opponents:

  1. We are from France. This is the country that has the most time zones in the world. There are 12 of them.
  2. We are from Brisbane. We do not observe DST (daylight saving time).
  3. We are from New Zealand. We share the same time zone as the South Pole.

 

In groups of 3-4 students, you have the task to make research on world time zones and identify whether the above statements are true or false. The teams have to provide arguments for their decision, back it with facts and explain why they think the statements are true or false.

As an additional activity all teams attend two debates organized as part of the activities:

  1. Debate 1: Daylight saving time – shall we keep it or shall we abolish it altogether?
  2. Debate 2 Flat earthers – are they for real or just conspiracy theories lovers?

 

Each team will attend the two debates, make their firm position on the topics of discussion and provide arguments to back up their theses.

PROCESS

1. Make some research on time zones.

How many time zones are there? How do different countries deal with time zones? Do they follow the same set of rules or do they make individual decisions for the time on their territories? What are the implications of having different time zones? Are there any curious rules or exceptions to the rules? Do time zones make our lives easier or are the reality more complicated?

Students can read the following articles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_zone and have a look at this map: https://www.timeanddate.com/time/map/.

Watch these videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1kOkoma_hM, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5wpmgesOY

 

2. Learn more about daylight saving time and the recent discussions in the EU about abolishing it.

Why was DST created? Is it something that is still necessary? Do all countries observe it? What would happen if we abolish it? What are the possible complications if we decide to keep it? What are the possible complications if we decide not to keep it?

Read the following article:
https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/ Read Directive 2000/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 January 2001 on summer-time arrangements https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/eb170453-93f3-4edb-a1efa4c46b64efc7/language-en

Find the latest debates on the topic. Do you think the EU will come up
with a unified solution for all its member states? Watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRQcW9ODoP4

 

3. Have you heard about the theory that the Earth is actually flat?

There are many people who insist that what we are taught about the shape of the Earth is a lie. They have found a number of modern flat Earth societies that debate the sphericity of the planet. Such groups date from the middle of the 20th century, some adherents are serious and some are not. Are these people driven by religion or by conspiracy theories? 

What arguments would you use if you happen to meet such a person to prove them wrong? Or are they wrong actually? Have a look at one of the websites of the flat Earth society: http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php/topic,1324.msg1312141.html#msg1312141

Do you think they present solid arguments? Watch this debate between flat earthers and scientists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7yvvq-9ytE

Do you think this debate was constructive? Did you learn something new from it? Make a list of the arguments of flat earthers and the evidence they provide that the Earth is flat. Against each argument provide scientific facts. Then make your own conclusions. In addition, share your overall opinion on flat earthers. How do you perceive this growing group of people? Does this society pose any dangers? Or are the flat earthers just harmless outsiders subject to mockery?

 

CONCLUSION

Students will learn more about time zones and the implications they have on our daily life. They will learn that time zones are a social construct aiming to make our lives easier. During the learning process, students will investigate the politics behind apparently simple decisions like the time zone a country wishes to stick to and the implications such decisions have on various aspects of our life. In addition, students will investigate in detail the heated debate about daylight saving time, the pros and cons of keeping it and the ways different countries deal with the issue. They should be able to make their own opinion on the matter keeping in mind the consequences one or the other decision may have on their health, daily routine, machine operation, work environment, etc. Students will also become aware of the growing segment of people arguing with science and will put their own knowledge of the earth to the test.

Learning outcomes

Skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Argumentation
  • Teamwork
  • Presentation skills
  • Research skills
  • Debate skills
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t: +357 2466 40 40
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Funded by
sCOOL-IT erasmus logo EN

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Talk To Us

t: +357 2466 40 40
f: +357 2465 00 90
escool.it@scool-it.eu

Funded by
sCOOL-IT erasmus logo EN

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Talk To Us

t: +357 2466 40 40
f: +357 2465 00 90
escool.it@scool-it.eu

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