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.
This activity has three parts:
- What Do Tides Have to Do With It?
- (Don’t) Shut Your Mouth
- Shifting Sands
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