Thoughts on tides and student activities involving tides.
People who spend their time on the ocean or the coast, sailors,
surfers, fishermen, and people from North Dakota escaping winter are
very aware of tides. Missourians generally are not. Galileo,
everyone's favorite scientist, was also aware of tides and
developed a theory of tides that was all wet. Why do you suppose Galileo
promoted his "sloshing" theory? We will briefly discuss
Galileo's theory of tides, which is based on the rotation of the
Earth and its revolution around the Sun. Tides vary significantly at
different points on the surface of the Earth, and we will point out how
tides are classified. Next, we will outline some activities that
students at several different levels can do to help understand tides and
provide evidence against the Galilean theory of tides by correlating
high and low tides with the motion and phases of the moon. These
activities vary from very simple graphing activities for first year
students in general education courses to Fourier transform analysis of
tidal data more suitable for advanced students. The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Organization (NOAO or "Noah") provides many
sources of tidal data on the internet, and we will point out how these
can be exploited.
* De Jong, M.L. and D.S. Moffatt. Missouri Virtual School,
Southwest Missouri State University.