This week, the U.S. Senate surprised everyone by unanimously passing a bill that would eliminate our switching of clocks back-and-forth by an hour twice a year in favor of living permanently on Daylight Saving Time (the schedule we’re on right now).
You’d think this idea would be a slam dunk, but there’s actually a hot debate brewing and it’s unclear what the House will do when the bill, known as the Sunshine Protection Act, arrives there for consideration. If the House approves and the bill is signed by President Biden, the change would take effect in 2023.
The actual issue at hand isn’t whether we should stop switching our clocks. A clear majority of Americans agree they want to stop all of this clock-switching. The real debate is whether we permanently live on Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time.
Knowing an opportunity for interesting informational text and a classroom debate when I see one, I found two experts who can help students understand the knot of issues surrounding this change – sleep, public health, crime, traffic safety, commerce, the list goes on!
Then, I built real-world rhetoric lesson tools you can use in class this week.
Suggested lesson procedure:
• Give students a primer on how Daylight Saving Time works (video link included in download) and explain the Senate’s move to approve the Sunshine Protection Act.
• Students read two essays – one from a professor of neurology who favors Standard Time and the other from a professor of law who favors Daylight Saving Time.
• Either on their own or with a classmate, students dig into nine short answer questions that’ll help them deconstruct each professor’s argument.
• Class returns for a debrief, sharing answers and learning where the majority of your class stands on the issue.
• Optional add-on: Help students turn their work into a letter to their House representative. They don’t know their elected representative? Send them here to get started: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
What do you think? Do you prefer Standard Time? Daylight Saving Time? Don’t mind fiddling with your microwave clock button twice a year and/or think we have plenty of other things to worry about? Leave a reply below!
Clock images licensed via Canva Pro.