Math IS Real Life: June 2017 Edition – time zones!

It’s the first Wednesday of June which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!

If you are linking up, please include the below picture to link back to this blog post


 A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by MissMathDork,


I live in a bubble. I’ve always known that at some level. However, recently, I started a new job which makes me deal with others across the United States, and sometimes the globe, in a very different way.  My colleagues and I now span 4 time zones. I’ve NEVER had that before. I’ve never really needed to think about different time zones before in my daily life, but now I think about time zones all day, every day.

I need to know time zones to set up meetings.  I need to know time zones to set up phone calls.  I need to know time zones to talk to my colleagues in a video conference.

It occurred to me one day when talking to a colleague about planning meetings, that I don’t recall ever really learning about time zones in school.  Sure, you learn about the Prime Meridian, and that time zones exist, but I don’t recall ever calculating them. This seems like a great integer lesson! Sure, you aren’t dealing in very big numbers, but with video conferencing being the wave of communication, why not tie a practical need together with a mathematical concept! (As I’m typing this, I’m visualizing an activity that I should take some time to create!)

I’m curious, do you  use time zones in your math class?  If so, how?  Would this be a topic worth using precious instructional time on? My gut says yes, but I want to hear from you 🙂  Leave a message below with your email address – I might just need proofers or people to give me some guidance 🙂


  Don’t forget to check out the other MIRL posts below!  Check back over the next few days – more will be added!!

Categories: #mirl, math is real life, and number and number sense.


  1. Haven’t taught it in class or learned it in class but I had a job where everything was in ZULU time (GMT) and you had to know what time it was in the Seychelles, Greenland, etc. You learn it fairly quickly.

  2. Julia Every

    A valid idea worth pursuing! Planning a vacation or a skype session with another math class who lived in a different time zone that the one we live in (US) and in another country. Great idea especially if we could actually link up our math classes with others inside and outside of the country where we live.

  3. I’ve not taught time zones specifically, but since I teach internationally, I have to think about time zones any time I want to speak with my family, or if I want to participate in a Twitter chat in the US. I could see some links to needing to understand them if we were doing a travel project and needing to set up a time to speak with someone where we were visiting.

  4. Emily

    I too, can’t remember learning about time zones at school. It was something I learnt about first hand. This could be a fanastic topic to explore in class. I’m thinking about all my friends around the world that we could call. So many possibilities! Thank you for the suggestion.

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