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SWBAT describe the relationship between the moon, the Earth, and gravity, as it relates to the formation of tides, and describe what causes ocean tides, tidal cycles, and how they change the water level along coastal areas.

Big Idea

Students never think about the moon causing the motion in the ocean. Learn how this celestial body contributes to the ocean's dynamic water levels.


5 minutes

I start by eliciting prior knowledge to learn what students already know about tides. I do this by asking students to respond to general questions using a Kahoot Game I created. (Kahoot is a game-based site that allows students to play using their computer, cell phone, or any other Wifi-enabled device.) By using this site, I can immediately see the results and can assess my students' background knowledge, while they have fun playing a game.


30 minutes

Next, I have the students watch How Do Tides Work?

I usually have them watch twice, as it moves rather quickly and I want them to get as much information as they can. As they watch, they make sense of the information by completing the Tides Graphic Organizer.


10 minutes

We review the graphic organizer as a class, reviewing parts of the video that for questions that seem confusing or need reinforcement. I have students use a different color ink to revise their answers as we go over them together. This helps provide a visual cue between their initial understanding and the additional information they need to learn to understand the concepts.


10 minutes

Now that students have learned a little background information about tides, I have them participate in the Gravity and Tide Lab, courtesy of Carolina Curriculum. In this lab, students read two separate texts, watch a short teacher demonstration, and graph the high and low tides for a two week period to learn more about the lunar cycle and the relationship between the Earth, the Moon, gravity, and tides. (See my reflection for more information.)


5 minutes

After completing the lab, I have students complete the Kahoot Game again, so that both they and I can reassess their understanding of the material. This, combined with their participation in the discussions and their work in the lab, help me to assess whether or not they understand how tides are caused and how they are related to lunar cycles.