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Waves & Tides
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Waves & Tides - Part 1

Open your notebook to a new page. Label it with today's date and the title "Waves and Tides." Then, write down what you know about waves and tides. (The pictures below show Padilla Bay at low tide and high tide.)
Then, write down at least one question that you have about waves and tides.

Padilla Bay - Low Tide

Padilla Bay - Incoming Tide

Waves & Tides - Part 2:
What Causes waves?

Read about waves by clicking on the links below. As you are reading, find the answers to these questions (write your answers in your notebook):
  1. What causes waves?
  2. Why are waves different sizes?

Estuaries are often protected by the land partially surrounding them. So, the waves are usually smaller by the time they reach the estuary. How do you think this affects the types of animals and plants that live in the estuary? Write your answer in your notebook.

Waves & Tides-Part 3:
What causes tides?

Tides are a little trickier. First, go to these two websites to read about tides. Then, write what you learned in your notebook.

You can also see how the moon affects our tides from this animation. Click on the picture to see a larger view along with a description.

Tide Animation

In your notebook, write about an experience you've had where you've seen tides. It could be in an estuary, on a shoreline beach, or in a river affected by tides. What did you notice? If you've never been someplace to see a tide, write about what you think you would see as the tide came in or went out.

Waves & Tides-Part 4:
Effects on Plants and Animals

Plants and animals need different conditions in order to survive. Some like to live in protected areas with only small waves (low energy beaches), others like to live in areas with crashing waves (high energy beaches). Some need to be covered with water at all times, while others can stand to be out of the water for short periods of time.
Create a data table in your notebook:

Plants and animals that live in sub-tidal zones (never out of the water)
Plants and animals that live in low tide zones (spend part of their day in the water and part of the day out of water)
Plants and animals that live in shoreline zones (spend most of their time out of the water)
H=likes heavy waves
L=likes light waves





Next, read about each of these animals and plants by clicking on its name. Find out if this organism prefers to live where there are heavy waves or light waves, and if it can tolerate being out of the water for part of the day. Add them to the correct columns on your table by drawing the plant or animal and writing its name. (One name has been filled in for you.)

Be prepared for our whole-group discussion time by having your notebook filled out with the following items:
  1. What you've learned today.
  2. Any questions you still have about waves & tides.
  3. Interesting things you'd like to share (such as scientific drawings, interesting facts, etc.).

Become an estuary expert!

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