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What is Time?

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The following is an excerpt from an on-line conversation among several upper-elementary students in Toronto enrolled in the Computer Supported Intentional Learning Environment program. The students were responding to the opening questions about the nature of time.

What is time? Is there a past, present, and future? Do we create time, and if we traveled into outer space, would time still be relevant?

From JK:

My theory: Time, past, present, and future,
Can they not be touched?
I may be just a kid but I don't think as such.
I think if we change our views something can be done.
If it's depending on which side you take,
On what decision it is you make,
A simple detail can count as much,
Like icing on a cake.
A deed you do for yourself or someone else's sake.
When time goes by,
It's in my eye,
A chapter of a story,
A bright light in the sky.

From BB:

In my opinion there is no present, only past and future. Like two lines coming together. There is no point between them. They unite with no exact pinpoint in between.

From RM:

My theory: I believe that the answer to the bold problem in the upper part of the note does not have an answer, and will be discussed in such a way that no answer shall emerge. But, the last question: "If we traveled into outer space, would time still be relevant?" is not such a hard question to answer, because human beings have already set foot on the moon and have been in our galaxy for quite a long time. Most of these astronauts have gotten back to Earth alive.

I have now decided to bring into the discussion the topic: time travel. Personally I do not believe in it, but I do have a theory on how someone that did believe in time travel would use when challenged. Disbelievers such as myself would say: "If there is such a thing as time travel why haven't there been any records of such a thing before 1994??" and the believer would say: "But what if the time-machine didn't come back today or in the past, but came back tomorrow??? We would not know about it until the next day!!!" But if someone in the classroom promised to come back in say, 1993, and was actually a scientist that helped make a time machine in the future, my theory would be completely wrong. I guess that it is too hard for me to explain, and some questions on my theory would probably help a lot.

From AG:

My theory: There are theories of time flowing differently in space. My theory is that this is definitely true. If you went around the sun, like, at the speed of light about 5 times, time would reverse itself so the Earth would go back a few million years, yet you haven't aged a day. Or you could do something else to go ahead in time. If you went a few parsecs (a parsec is 3.27 light years) ahead, and then came back to Earth (all at the speed of light) you would probably send Earth time forward a few million years.

From JK:

My theory: My theory to the question "Is there a past, present, and future" is this: I believe that there is a past, and a future, but I do not believe that there is a present. The reason being, you cannot say when the present is. If you say, "I'm in the present," then what you said is now in the past. But, also if you try to tell the future, and say, "Today I'm going to the movies with Cindy," and you think that is your future, in a way it is. But you don't really know if you're going or not. I mean, Cindy might get sick, and not go, so you never really can tell the future, either.

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