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Time

To become more aware of our use of time

by Gordon and Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To become more aware of our use of time.

Preparation and materials

Read through the poem/reflection in advance.

Assembly

  1. Ask if anyone knows what the time is.

    To each response say, ‘No, you’re wrong.'

    Eventually, having calmed the self-righteous indignation of those who know that their watches are accurate, explain that no one can tell you exactly what the time is because in the time it takes to tell the time, time has moved on. So if you look at your watch and it is exactly 10.30, by the time you’ve said it, it will be half past ten and one second.

    Get everyone to repeat after you:

    ‘In the time it takes me to tell the time, time has moved on.’

    That’s your first rule of time.

  2. Ask everyone to close their eyes and silently, in their heads, count ten seconds, then open them again. You could put people off their counting by calling out random numbers!

    Point out that not everyone opened their eyes at exactly the same time and this is your second rule of time:

    ‘Without a clock, time is hard to measure.’

    Get everyone to repeat your second rule.

  3. Ask if ten seconds is always the same length of time.

    You might get some responses that refer to relativity. If so, politely ask the respondents to ‘hold that thought’ because you’ll be getting to that later.

    Try to elicit the point that ten seconds is ten seconds wherever you are and at any time of the day or night. But does time always seem to pass at the same rate? What about if you’re bored, or excited, in pain or really happy? Doesn’t time seem elastic? – It can seem longer or shorter depending on our mood or what’s happening to us.

    Get everyone to repeat after you:

    ‘Time is elastic; it can go quickly or slowly.’

    That’s your third rule of time.

  4. Refer back to or introduce Einstein’s general rule of relativity and say that Einstein (a famous scientist of the 20th century) realized that the faster you travel, the slower time passes, so that if you travelled really fast in space and back to earth again, you might find that only a few years had passed for you, but a hundred years for everyone left on earth. If you travelled as fast as it is possible to, at the speed of light, time would stop for you altogether. This takes a lot of thinking about, so get everyone to repeat after you:

    ‘Time is a mystery.’

    That’s your fourth rule of time.

  5. Recap your four rules of time by asking if anyone can remember all four:

    - In the time it takes me to tell the time, time has moved on.
    - Without a clock, time is hard to measure.
    - Time is elastic; it can go quickly or slowly.
    - Time is a mystery

Time for reflection

Say you’d like everyone to spend some of their precious time now, thinking about how they use time.

Reflection:

Do you use time wisely making every minute great,

Or does it slip through your fingers and seem to evaporate?

Does time idle along for you, or go at a thrilling rate?

Is time a gift, a friend, a mate,

Or do you lose time, do you … wait!

I’ve run out, my time is done, I have to tell it straight,

It’s time to stop, time to be quiet, time to cease – I’m late!

Song/music

‘Time is a thing’ (Come and Praise, 104)

Publication date: June 2005   (Vol.7 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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