Explore ocean tides and understand how the moon and sun affect them in this Gizmo.
A great time to visit the beach is during low tide, when the water is shallower over sandbars and you can ride the waves. This might be especially true during a spring tide, when the high tides are higher than normal and the low tides are lower than normal. But when will this happen, and how can you predict when tides will happen?
Students can explore tides with the Ocean TidesGizmo. In the Gizmo, students see that the moon’s gravity causes a “bulge” of water to form on the near and opposite sides of Earth. An observer experiences high tide when she rotates into one of these bulges, about every 12 hours. Low tides occur in the spaces between the bulges. The bulges get even larger when the moon and sun are aligned, which occurs during the full moon and new moon phases.
Here’s hoping you get a chance to go to the beach this summer and experience tides for yourself!