Inquiry-based learning: Time

A history of timekeeping

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Did you know that humans have been measuring time for at least 30,000 years?

We started looking at the stars to help with farming, travel and organising ourselves. Inventions for measuring time started to pop up around 3000 BC, with sundials (also known as shadow clocks) appearing around 1500BC. Devices varied from place to place, as did the method of measuring time itself.

Watch the great video (above) from The British Museum about the history of time and clocks. What new things did you learn?


History is full of inspiration.

Research some of the devices that have been used to measure time throughout history.

You could start with this website from The University of Cambridge.

Make a time device!

Design and make your own time measurement device.

Choose one of the following amazing inventions and learn how to make it.

Make an equatorial sundial

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Make a polar sundial

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Make a water clock

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Make an hourglass

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Make a pendulum clock

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Use your inspiration...

Imagine you are the first person ever to discover the time device you made. Plan or film a video diary explaining what it is, and predicting what might happen next...


Plan or make an animation that explores how this device works and how and why it was used.


Plan or code a video game where one of the above devices counts down your time to complete a level.


Write a short summary in your journal of what you discovered about the history of time, and anything you learned that inspired you.

You could use the sentence starters "I used to think..." and "Now I think...". 

Remember to keep a note of anything that you want to include in your moving image work!


You have completed Module 2. Time to take a look at Module 3...

The science of time

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