Understanding Time Zones

Working With Students to Ensure That They Understand Time Zones

It is important for students to understand time zones and the nature and purpose of times zones and how to convert time so that they know when is it OK to ring home, and when they should adjust their clock.  The history of the time zone is also interesting.

A time zone is a region on Earth that has a uniform standard time.   The zones are marked by meridians, which are imaginary circles running perpendicular to the planes of the celestial equator and horizon.  Think of them as bands that run from top to bottom.


Zones are offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) by a whole number of hours (UTC−12 to UTC+14). Some countries use daylight saving time for part of the year, typically by changing clocks by an hour. When students are sitting on a plane, they may be asked to adjust their clocks.

Before the invention of clocks, people marked the time of day with apparent solar time by erecting sundials.  Although the structures are interesting from a historical and artistic point of view, today’s travellers need to be much more mobile and ‘synched in’ than this.

Sun Dial

Sun Dial

The increase in worldwide communication has increased the need for communication tools so that there is a mutually comprehensible time reference worldwide.

Interactive Time Zone Tools and Maps Available Online

Most students will have mobile phones that convert times zones simply and efficiently.  It is still important to make them aware of the need to check time zones for themselves. Many tools are provided online such as

Personal World Clock

Personal World Clock

Using the Personal World Clock students can collect time zones as they add the cities they visit to their personal clock.  The clock is a handy, convenient way to narrow the range and complexity of time choices.  Students are advised to take the time before the trip so that they understand why time changes from place to place and how they can quickly and easily deal with those changes.

Please contact us on 02 9281 2741 or complete the form below if you have any questions about taking your students on an educational tour, we’re here to help!

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