This introductory lab is a fun way to analyze data and the students look forward to finding the results each year. Who will be taller, boys or girls? Will we be taller than last year’s class? You can really analyze the data in multiple ways, you can also add the concept of min, max, mode, and range in addition the mean, you can look for trends, and you can talk about sample size, etc…
This lesson can be used as part of your unit on reproduction, a stand alone lesson to practice collecting and analyzing data, or as part of a math lesson on statistics. This lesson can be extended in several different ways: you can add graphing, plotting data using a stem and leaf (link) for the dates, finding min, max, mode, averages, etc…
The students enjoy this lesson because it is a fun way to analyze their birthdays and many students didn’t know what day of the week they were born on.
This activity ties together spring tides, neap tides, moon phases, chart reading skills, graphing skills, and analyzing data skills. When making the worksheets, I used the data for high tides since it showed a better range of data for the students to create the graph.
This activity was also a good review on how to create line graphs by hand for two sets of data. Students are used to making bar graphs so we reviewed how to set up line graphs and plot points on the graph.
When plotting the data, you can really see the differences in the tidal heights. We also used the phrase “Neap ain’t that deep” to remember the difference between spring tides and neap tides.
Atlantic City, NJ – January 2015 High Tide Data worksheet (pdf)
Seaside Heights, NJ – February 2015 High Tide Data (pdf) (image link)
“For example, in the year 2015, the February 18 new moon will closely align with perigee and the the September 28 full moon will closely coincide with perigee, to bring forth perigean spring tides.”~EarthSky
Blank Worksheet for students to choose data from a different location. (pdf)
Tide charts – select the state and city of your choice, set for Atlantic City (link)
Current Moon Phases – The Old Farmer’s Almanac (link)
I love when we have an opportunity to collect real-time data in class, as part of our unit on tides, we used NOAA’s website (link) to learn how to find real-time tide information, to learn how to read tide graphs and charts, and to find water temperatures for 10 different stations and compare their data. The kids enjoyed picking their own cities and sharing their findings.
Tides Google Slides Public (link) – this is a shared Google Slide that gives some basic information on tides and then it goes into a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the NOAA website to collect information.
Data Collection worksheet (pdf) – students will record and analyze their data
The second activity, included graphing information for high tides at Atlantic City for the month of January. Students will learn how to read a tide chart and graph tide data to see the relationship between tides and moon phases. This activity was also a great way to practice graphing skills. Creating graphs by hand, instead of on a computer, is something that they don’t get to do very often.
January Tides Worksheet (pdf) for Atlantic City, NJ.
Blank worksheet (pdf) for students to choose data from a different location.
Tide Charts (link) – set for New Jersey but you can pick different states and locations for monthly tides data.
For more lessons about the Moon, visit the Moon Page, under the Space Science tab.
In this activity, students collected data from different cities around the world and entered the sunrise, sunset, and moonrise times into an excel spreadsheet. I have the spreadsheet set up to automatically graph the data as it is entered into excel for 7 consecutive weeks. (I printed out and photocopied the 4th tab of the spreadsheet to make it easier for the students to collect their data and then enter into the spreadsheet)
For my classes, I gave everyone the information for the New Jersey data (it is in the spreadsheet as an example, but you can easily delete it and modify as needed). This gave everyone a foundation to make their comparisons. Each student was randomly assigned their first city, and when done, were able to choose any city from the list for their 3rd choice.