Time Zones Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Use this lesson plan to help you introduce your students to time zones. Students will watch a video lesson, discuss time zones, and create a sample travel plan based on time zones. Finish up with a quiz to allow students to test what they've learned.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain what a time zone is
  • describe the reason time zones exist


30-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.


Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.


  • Devices and internet access for student research


  • Begin the lesson by asking if anyone in the room knows anyone who lives across the country or somewhere else in the world. Ask them if they have ever called them. Did they ever encounter any issues with timing? Why might this have been?
  • Play the video lesson Understanding Time Zones Lesson for Kids. Pause the video at 1:10 to discuss the following questions as a class:
    • What is a time zone?
    • Which directions do you travel to change time zones?
  • Resume the video. Pause it again at 1:39 to discuss the following:
    • Why do we have time zones?
    • What would it be like if we didn't have time zones?
  • Resume and finish the video. Discuss:
    • What happens to the time zone as you travel east? West?
    • How do you think this relates to the rotation of the Earth?

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