Teacher Notes

The Moon and Tides

Created by: Kristal Pride
Saddleback Valley Unified School District

URL: http://www.can-do.com/uci/lessons99/moon.html
URL:  http://www-sci.lib.uci.edu/SEP/CTS99/moon.html

Background Info

It is well known that the moon, the earth, and the sun affect ocean tides.  Along the west coast of the United States we experience 4 different tides per day: 2 highs and 2 lows.  When the moon, the earth, and the sun are in a line Spring Tides are formed.  During these tides you may observe higher and lower than normal tides.  In other words, there will be very high tides and very low tides.  When the moon, the earth, and sun are at right angles to each other Neap Tides are formed.  During these tides you will not be able to observe a great deal of difference in the heights of the high and low tides.

At the conclusion of this assignment you will be able to:
1.  Label and identify different phases of the  moon 
2.  Name different kinds of tides
3.  Create a graph using your choice of tide data
4.  Predict the moon phases associated with your graph.

1.  Computer with internet access

2.  Activity sheet

Procedure:  Follow the instructions below to complete the assignment.  BE SURE TO READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE GOING TO ANY LINK.  Record your data on the activity sheet.

1.  Fill in the definitions for Spring Tides and Neap Tides on your activity sheet.

2.  Use the moon definitions page to find the definition for Waning, Waxing and Gibbous.  Using another resource or your prior knowledge, define Crescent. Observe what each phase of the moon is called and what it looks like.  Record this information on your activity sheet.  The "Full Moon" and "New Moon" phases are labeled and drawn for you.

3.  First check the current moon phase.  Then go to the moon phases interactive  web site and experiment with different dates.  Record one of the dates you chose and draw and label the moon phase that occurred.

4.  Now that you have mastered the moon's phases you can explore how they affect the ocean tides.  First, select a region to study from the tidal region page.  Record the area you chose on your activity sheet.  Refer to your activity sheet for the next instructions. 

5. Notice that your graph resembles a horizontal "hourglass" shape.  Using a pen, pencil, or highlighter, trace the "hourglass shape."  Starting on the left side of the graph trace the high tides all the way to the end.  Repeat this step with low tides.

6.  Review the definitions for Spring Tides and Neap Tides.  Label the appropriate sections of the graph with the name of the tide.  Now, draw a picture of the moon phase or phases associated with those tides.

7.  Choose another region and follow the previous directions.  Once you have your graph, compare the new high and low tides with your first graph.  Are the curves in the same location?  Why or Why not?  (Hint: it is not simply because you chose a new region!)

Cool Sites
Check out a view of the earth from the moon -Navigate around
Astronomy and Space Links: Check the moon page

Quick Links - Select and click "Go"

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This webquest also found at:  http://www-sci.lib.uci.edu/SEP/CTS99/moon.html
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Last Updated August 21, 1999
Revised February, 6, 2000