Nonfiction Friday: “You’d Never Believe It But…the Sun Was the First Clock”

Telling time

Cooper’s had a digital clock in his room for a year and a half now. He went through a couple of years when he wanted to wake up as soon as the sun peeked over the horizon in the summer…at about 5 a.m. Also, he refused to stay in his room during mommy-imposed rest time in the afternoon. Thus, we taught him how to look for 6-0-0, when he could wake up in the morning, and 2-3-0 when he can get up from rest time. He normally runs out of his room yelling,”It’s 6-0-0! Time to wake up!”

Now that he’s five, it’s time to learn to tell time. Santa brought him an analog watch for Christmas, and we’ve been showing him how to read it. A nice companion to this effort is Helen Taylor’s, “You’d Never Believe It But…the Sun Was the First Clock” (Aladdin Books, 1999), which we borrowed it from the library.

“The Sun Was the First Clock” shows children how the earth’s rotation creates daytime and nighttime, how people kept time long ago, and defines hours, minutes, seconds, years and more.

The best part of this book is the hands-on activities. I’ve already shown Cooper and Finely how the earth’s rotation creates day and night by shining a flashlight (the sun) on our globe (you could also use an orange). We also plan to make a sun dial out of some sturdy cardboard, a pencil and some clay. Finally, we’ll make a clock so we can practice telling time using cardboard, some construction paper and a brad (stay tuned for these projects!). This should also serve as a good introduction to fractions.

There are many good books out there about telling time. You might also enjoy, “Clockwise: A Time-Telling Tale” by Sara Pinto (Bloomsbury, 2006), which is more fiction than nonfiction, but helps children understand time concepts.

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