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Putting Time In Perspective

Conducting the Activity

Take what follows as a suggestion.  Feel free to modify it in any way you think appropriate given the group with which you work.

Day 1

  1. Do the warm-up for this activity with the first event on your list.
  2. List all of the events from your list on the board.
  3. Ask students to take out a sheet of paper. 
  4. Tell them to imagine that a yearly calendar represents whatever time span you have specified for this activity.
  5. That being the case, ask them to try to figure out on which days the events on the board would fall.  Urge them to concentrate on the process for determining the days. Give them 5 minutes to do so; and to write out the days they've decided on, and how they determined them.  Ask them to keep these papers (which reflect their initial thoughts) for use at the end of the activity.
  6. Break the class into groups no larger than 5 each.
  7. Instruct each group to try to reach a consensus on the days, and the process for determining them.  Give the groups 15 minutes to complete their work.
  8. At the end of the 15 minute period, form one class group again.
  9. Have a representative from each group report the group's results.
  10. Lead a discussion where the class attempts to form a consensus on where the events would fall.

Day 2

  1. Do the warm-up with the second event from your list.
  2. Recap the group consensus arrived at on Day 1.
  3. Announce that you are going to work with the first event on the list.
  4. Show students the first 5 steps of the process I've provided for determining placements on the 365 day calendar.
  5. If students did not discern it on Day 1, identify how long ago the event you are working with occurred.
  6. As a group, work through the steps to find the "correct" day of the year for the event you chose.
  7. Give each student a copy of the 365 day calendar you copied for this activity.
  8. Assign a one character symbol for the event with which you've been working.
  9. Have students write it in the appropriate box on their calendar.
  10. Ask students to keep the calendar handy, as they will be using it again.
  11. Assignment: Using the event from today's warm up, apply the 5 steps they've gone over to calculate the "date" on which this event would appear.

Day 3

  1. Do the warm-up with an event from your list that you have not used.
  2. Go over the assignment from Day 2.  When finished, have your students place the 1 character symbol you've decided on for its event on their 365 day calendars.
  3. If you want students to calculate the time of day that events occurred, show them steps VI-IX of the process.  Apply them to the two events students now have on their calendars.
  4. Present the remaining events on your list.  Unless you want your students to research them, be sure they have the # of years ago each occurred.
  5. Assignment: Using the remaining events on your list, have students calculate the days each would appear on the calendar.  If you showed them how to calculate the time of day, have them calculate that too. 

Day 4

  1. Review the assignment from Day 3.
  2. Assign 1 character symbols for each of the events students worked with on it.
  3. Have students place the symbols in the appropriate spots on their calendars.
  4. Ask students to take out the original papers on which they noted their first thoughts on these events (Day 1, # 5).
  5. Discuss

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original web posting: Wednesday, September 9, 1998
last modified: Tuesday, March 16, 2004