Wednesday, April 7, 2010

MAM Day 7: Time

Math Awareness Day 7, TIME!

Ironic twist to today's MAM post - I have run out of time to post during the day today and have to leave the office at 2. [Update below!]

While you're anxiously waiting my blog post (jk), can I get any comments on what you think so far? Have you given math a second thought this week? Has anything been helpful or interesting? Please let me know!

Rock on math fans!

Aha! One of the most obvious examples of everyday math that we all participate in is time. On any given day, we deal with time in different ways - telling time, elapsed time, timing our commutes or travel, scheduling meetings and errands, or something as simple as reading the time.

It's one of the first things we learn to do in elementary school. Do you remember learning how to read digital clocks then upgrading to reading analog clocks? We had to learn a different base system to handle reading time because our system of telling time depends on different units for different measurements of time. Seconds and minutes go up to 60, hours in a day = 24, days in a week = 7, etc etc. It might take a few years, but most people in our society who go through any education system have a firm grasp of time and how to tell what time it is.

It's all math! If you didn't know how to subtract or add, you wouldn't be able to tell how long a meeting is, or how long a class is. Timing my commute in the morning requires that I know what time it was when I left and what time it was when I got there (it's about an hour for me to get to work, if you were interested). If I wanted to be a point B at a certain time, I would have to do some math to figure out what time I need to leave to get there.

We can also talk about 24 hour clocks versus 12 hour clocks and the math that's required to figure out what time 2230 corresponds to. This website explains it fairly well, but since most of us don't deal with 24 hour clocks, we don't have to worry too much about it.

What time is it here?

The connections between time and math are obvious so I'll just leave you all with a math problem.

If I took this picture above at 7:14 pm when I started writing

And took this picture at 7:52 pm when I finished

How long did it take me to update my blog for today?


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