Modeling the Tides

  1. Contributing Teacher:  Geoff Hagopian, College of the Desert, December, 2, 2000
  2. Suggested Grade Level:  This activity is appropriate for precalculus or trigonometry, but could easily be adapted to calculus and beyond.
  3. Time Required:  About a week.
  4. Materials and Technology Needed:  Internet access and pencil/paper.
  5. Safety Considerations:  As always, keep clear of slackers and Dubya backers.
  6. Teacher Preparation:  Carefully read through and perform all the exercises before foisting this on innocent students.
  7. Objectives and Learning Outcomes:  Students will learn how to fit parameters to superimposed sinusoids to model tidal motion..
  8. Purpose:  The purpose of this project is to discover how to sinusoids can be combined to produce a wide variety of curves and to learn how the tides are affected by the sun, the moon, and the geography of Baja California.
  9. Procedure:  See this page.
  10. Results/Analysis:  Some answers are given in the procedure section, others are readily available in the references supplied.
  11. Teacher Reflections:  I love this stuff!  Really terrific how it ties in math/physics with earth science in a way that is important and relevant to people everywhere.
  12. Extensions:  Lots of room for expansion here.
  13. Assessment Suggestions:  Many different levels of approach here from basic arithmetic to partial differential equations.  All depends on how you ask what questions.
  14. Standards Addressed:  Yeah, I know this is important, but it's late in the game and I need to be done.
  15. References/Resources:  Included throughout..