The concept of Daylight Saving Time was first implemented during World War I, as Germany and Austria-Hungary sought to reduce their consumption of coal to aid their war efforts. During this same conflict, the United States also first adopted the concept of changing clock times. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “the U.S. had daylight saving time as early as 1918, with the current federal policy being enacted in 1966, as the Uniform Time Act.”
Throughout the last 100 years, the United States’ policy regarding Daylight Saving Time has repeatedly changed and shifted. During World War II, for example, the U.S. adopted year-round Daylight Saving Time to support its efforts to conserve resources during the military conflict. The 1970s also brought significant discussion about the issue, with the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and subsequent nationwide energy crisis. Other changes have included the shifting of when the nation “springs forward” or “falls back,” based on the concerns of business leaders, politicians, scientists, doctors, and other interested parties.
Contemporary debates about Daylight Saving Time include arguments that include health concerns, states’ rights, energy consumption, crime and law enforcement, youth safety, worker and business efficiency, transportation safety, and the desire to maintain ample light for hobbies such as gardening and exercise. Other arguments extend to the impact of the technological age on time shifts and of increased globalization, as any change made by a state or the United States Congress would have profound impacts on the global economic marketplace.
This deliberation includes seven video clips, two articles, and several educational activities to guide students through a review of the historical foundations of Daylight Saving Time and the contemporary arguments for and against the change in time. After a careful review of multiple perspectives, students will determine what should be done about Daylight Saving Time and be presented with several optional extensions to affect change in their country.
Objectives and Outcomes
- Students will be able to describe key vocabulary terms and concepts associated with the debate surrounding Daylight Saving Time.
- Students will be able to identify and explain aspects of the Daylight Saving Time debate including those of economics, politics, safety, and health.
- Students will be able to evaluate arguments relating to the continued use of Daylight Saving Time and formulate an opinion on this question.