Noticing the regular movement of the Sun and the stars has led to a desire to measure time. This article for teachers and learners looks at the history of man's need to measure things.
Not everybody agreed that the Third Millennium actually began on January 1st 2000. Find out why by reading this brief article.
Great Granddad is very proud of his telegram from the Queen
congratulating him on his hundredth birthday and he has friends who
are even older than he is... When was he born?
N people visit their friends staying N kilometres along the coast.
Some walk along the cliff path at N km an hour, the rest go by car.
How long is the road?
A game for two or more players that uses a knowledge of measuring
tools. Spin the spinner and identify which jobs can be done with
the measuring tool shown.
A bus route has a total duration of 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes,
two buses set out, one from each end. How many buses will one bus
meet on its way from one end to the other end?
Two engines, at opposite ends of a single track railway line, set
off towards one another just as a fly, sitting on the front of one
of the engines, sets off flying along the railway line...
If it takes four men one day to build a wall, how long does it take
60,000 men to build a similar wall?
These clocks have only one hand, but can you work out what time
they are showing from the information?
Can you create a story that would describe the movement of the man
shown on these graphs? Use the interactivity to try out our ideas.
Alice's mum needs to go to each child's house just once and then
back home again. How many different routes are there? Use the
information to find out how long each road is on the route she
My measurements have got all jumbled up! Swap them around and see
if you can find a combination where every measurement is valid.
Use the clocks to investigate French decimal time in this problem.
Can you see how this time system worked?
This article explains how Greenwich Mean Time was established and in fact, why Greenwich in London was chosen as the standard.
These clocks have been reflected in a mirror. What times do they
Use the interactivity to move Mr Pearson and his dog. Can you move
him so that the graph shows a curve?
Use your knowledge of angles to work out how many degrees the hour
and minute hands of a clock travel through in different amounts of
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find
out how long they take.
Can you rank these quantities in order? You may need to find out
extra information or perform some experiments to justify your
Can you place these quantities in order from smallest to largest?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
If Tom wants to learn to cook his favourite supper, he needs to make a schedule so that everything is ready at the same time.
Look at the changes in results on some of the athletics track events at the Olympic Games in 1908 and 1948. Compare the results for 2012.
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
The pages of my calendar have got mixed up. Can you sort them out?
Can you rank these sets of quantities in order, from smallest to largest? Can you provide convincing evidence for your rankings?
Can you put these times on the clocks in order? You might like to arrange them in a circle.
Chandrika was practising a long distance run. Can you work out how
long the race was from the information?
I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of
Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times
would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?
Galileo, a famous inventor who lived about 400 years ago, came up
with an idea similar to this for making a time measuring
instrument. Can you turn your pendulum into an accurate minute
What can you say about when these pictures were taken?
Can you put these mixed-up times in order? You could arrange them in a circle.
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
Here's a chance to work with large numbers...
A train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?
At the time of writing the hour and minute hands of my clock are at
right angles. How long will it be before they are at right angles
My cousin was 24 years old on Friday April 5th in 1974. On what day
of the week was she born?
A paradox is a statement that seems to be both untrue and true at the same time. This article looks at a few examples and challenges you to investigate them for yourself.
This month there is a Friday the thirteenth and this year there are three. Can you explain why every year must contain at least one Friday the thirteenth?
These two challenges will test your time-keeping!
Which times on a digital clock have a line of symmetry? Which look
the same upside-down? You might like to try this investigation and
Liitle Millennium Man was born on Saturday 1st January 2000 and he will retire on the first Saturday 1st January that occurs after his 60th birthday. How old will he be when he retires?
Two trains set off at the same time from each end of a single
straight railway line. A very fast bee starts off in front of the
first train and flies continuously back and forth between the. . . .
Mathematics has allowed us now to measure lots of things about eclipses and so calculate exactly when they will happen, where they can be seen from, and what they will look like.
Read this article to find out the mathematical method for working out what day of the week each particular date fell on back as far as 1700.
Calendars were one of the earliest calculating devices developed by civilizations. Find out about the Mayan calendar in this article.
This investigation explores using different shapes as the hands of
the clock. What things occur as the the hands move.
Do you know the rhyme about ten green bottles hanging on a wall? If
the first bottle fell at ten past five and the others fell down at
5 minute intervals, what time would the last bottle fall down?
Sometime during every hour the minute hand lies directly above the hour hand. At what time between 4 and 5 o'clock does this happen?
This article for teachers suggests ways in which dinosaurs can be a
great context for discussing measurement.