Water Going Up, Water Going Down

PDF versionPDF version
Satellite Images of sand and seaweed of the Bahamas

ERN Item Type: 

  • Classroom Activities


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


In this activity, students will make a “human size” graph of tides on a classroom wall to understand variability of tides at different locations. Students will investigate different reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System to examine how tides vary throughout the day and from location to location. Then they will compare the estuary mouth closures taking place at Los Peñasquitos Lagoon in California and Old Woman Creek in Ohio. Students will examine the effect of tidal and wind-driven flushing of estuary waters related to dissolved oxygen levels. They will create a model beach in a pan using playground sand and rulers. Students will use the model beach to investigate how human-made structures affect sand movement along shorelines. Class discussion then connects the lessons about sand movement with the possible impact on estuary mouth closures.

Grade Level: 


Earth Science Big Ideas: 

Is this tagged to NGSS by the organization?: 


NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: 

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: 

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: 

NGSS Performance Expectations: