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What are tides, and why do they happen?
How many high and low tides happen each day?
Are all tides the same height?
This page links to an interdisciplinary learning 
module created by geologists, chemists, physicists, and mathematicians.  The module will help students and teachers learn more about tides by using different tools and methods of these disciplines.

Photos from the Nova Scotia Museum.  See the animation!

If you were to track ocean water level over a period of a few days, you would see that it changes with a regular pattern.  As a scientist, you can do more than just observe these tidal patterns.  You can try to figure out why they happen! 

In order to investigate tides, you'll need scientific data.  Click here for a step-by-step guide to collecting and analyzing your own ocean water level data. 
Instructors: This activity is appropriate for classes from advanced middle school to university level.  It takes some computer savvy--the main technical requirements are the ability to cut and paste data from a web page to MSWord and Excel, and to create graphs using Excel or similar software.  It also takes a little patience to find a data station that will work for you.  But be assured that they do exist, and with a few minutes of persistence, you will find one.

Would you like to use a data set that has already been downloaded for you, with a graph already made for a few days (or a year)?  Click on one of these:

    Apalachicola, FL           Crescent City, CA          Kawaihae, Hawaii Island, HI        Rockport, FL

Be prepared to be amazed by the graphs that you will produce--you're going to get graphs that show much, much more than the "two highs & two lows per day" that you might initially expect, although you definitely will see that too!  Many factors influence tidal levels.  This activity doesn't explain why tides happen.  But it will draw you and your students to try to explain the data trends that you discover.  Maybe you will be able to figure out something new--and really interesting!

Are you looking for materials and activities to support your courses in 
Earth Science, Chemistry, Physics, or Mathematics
Check out Links for Educators*(*and other people with insatiable curiosity).

The NASA/UNCF Project at NEIU | Northeastern Illinois University

Text of this page © 2003 The NASA/UNCF Project,  Northeastern Illinois University
Last updated May 1, 2003.