Graphing Spring Tides, Neap Tides, & Moon Phases

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Graphing Tides & Moon Phases

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.

Worksheets

  • 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 (pdf) for students to choose data from a different location. 
  • Tide charts (link– select the state and city of your choice, set for Atlantic City
  • Current Moon Phases (link– The Old Farmer’s Almanac
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“The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” – Poetry Cut Up Activity

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“The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls”

Standardized testing, snow days, delayed openings, special schedules, and mid-winter blues – ugggghhhhh. I wanted to do an activity during ERB testing week that was related to our current unit on tides, but was flexible enough due to the uncertainty of how often, and for how long, I would see each of my classes. This activity covered 3 shortened class periods and was completed for homework as needed.

Materials

  1. The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” – cut-up version and instructions (pdf)
  2. scissors
  3. glue sticks
  4. colored pencils or markers
  5. colored construction paper
  6. white printer paper

I used the poem “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (link) and randomized the phrases to create the handout. Students cut the phrases apart and rearranged them to create their own original version of the poem and added an illustration to depict a scene from their poem. This activity reminded them of the magnetic poetry kits they have used in the past. As they worked on their poetry, I played some ocean sounds and beach themed music, it was a great way to unwind during a stressful testing week. The image above shows some of the poems & artwork, the rest were on a different bulletin board.

After all the poems were collected, I read the original poem for them as they watched the stop-motion video below. They noted how they grouped some of the phrases together just like the poet did in the original poem, or how different their version was. We also discussed the rhyming pattern he used, AABBA.

Using Real-Time Data: NOAA & Tides

Tides

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.

Resources:

  • 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.
  • NOAA Tides Website (link)
  • 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.
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