What is Time?

Wow… Thanks, Jasson!  This looks like an easy question, but it’s not!  First, we are going to talk about some other things that we can measure.  We can measure how heavy, how hot, how long, how fast or how tall something is.

  • An elephant can be about 5,000 kg.
  • A TV is about 10 kg.
  • A person’s body is about 37° C.
  • Ice is under 0° C.
  • My finger is 8 cm long.
  • The Eiffel Tower is 300 m tall.

eiffel tower 300 meters tall

See?  It’s easy to measure some things.  There is a number with all of those things that I measured.  Other things are a little more difficult to measure, but we will still have a number.  What about this question:  How old are you?  This time, we will still measure, but it’s not something that we can see.

  • I am 29 years old.
  • Jasson is 8 years old.
  • My dog is 3 years old.

Now, how about this question: How much homework do you have?  One way to answer this question is, “TOO MUCH! Of course!”.  Another way to answer it is, “I have 3 math worksheets and 5 pages of writing.”  Even one more way to answer it is like this:

  • I have 45 minutes of homework to do.
  • Lucy has only 20 minutes of homework left! Woohoo!
  • Alex has 10 seconds of homework every day.
  • Jay has 3 hours of homework tonight.

homework times

So there’s still that number, and the thing that got measured.  Time is just one more thing people like to measure.  Time is how long something takes to happen, or how long ago it happened (in the past!), or how long until it will happen (in the future!).  That might sound crazy, but every time you say seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, weeks, or years, you are using time to measure how long something takes.

If you look at a clock, that clock is helping you measure time.  12:00 PM is the middle of the day.  It is also called noon. 12:00 AM is the middle of the night.  It is called midnight.  If you see a clock that shows 3:00PM, it means 3 hours ago was the middle of the day.  If you see a clock that shows 7:00AM when you wake up, it means 7 hours ago was the middle of the night.

clock two hours 50 minutes ago

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