Modeling Tidal Action

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In this activity (Lesson 1), learners work in groups to create tide simulations. Learners develop a testing procedure, detail their work in a Laboratory Report, illustrate their simulation and properly label each part (i.e. intertidal, high tide zone), and modify their model to demonstrate different tides. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Seattle Times article
  • Trays with 2-3 inch high sides either from the landforms kit, paint roller trays or wallpaper trays work well
  • Water
  • Tubes or hoses for siphons
  • Paper towels and sponges for cleanup
  • Books or websites on near shore habitats from the library
  • Internet connection (optional)
  • Illustration of tidal ebb and flow
  • Laboratory Reports
  • Notebooks and pencils


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
      • Tides
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Wave Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, NOAA,

Funding Source:

  • The Russell Family Foundation