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Name: ______________________ Date: _______

Tides and Moon Phases


Introduction: For this project you will analyze tide data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA). You will be comparing the predicted highest high tides and lowest low tides in a
month to the phases the moon is in at the same time. You will analyze the tides
predicted for the month of January 2011.
The NOAA has about 3000 stations that collect
tide data from all over the country. The values
you will be analyzing were predicted for a station
at the end of Manhattan in New York City in a
place called The Battery. To the right is a map of
where the station is as well as a picture of the
station itself (inside the shed are the scientific
instruments measuring data all the time). As you
can see, it is right next to the water (and some
instruments are in the water).

Pre-Questions:
1. How many high tides occur most days?
1
_______________________________________
2. How many low tides occur most days?
1
_______________________________________
3. Why do the tides occur?
because of the sun and moon.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
Problem: Are the tides affected by the phases of the moon?
Hypothesis: Your hypothesis should predict what phase(s) the moon will be in when tides are furthest from
the average (higher and lower). Try to think about what else besides the moon’s gravity that might help
cause tides.

because of the moon phase. like full moon it will effect the tie.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
Procedure:
1. Use the “Tide Predictions for January 2011” data table to plot the low tide data on the prepared graph.
Connect each data point with a line. Most days will have two data points.
2. Label the line “Low Tide”.
3. Use the “Tide Predictions for January 2011” to plot the high tide data on the prepared graph.
Connect each data point with a line. Most days will have two data points. Use a different color than
used in step 1 if possible.
4. Label the line “High Tide”.
5. Find, circle and label the following locations on your graph: highest low tide, lowest low tide, highest
high tide, lowest high tide.
6. Use the “Moon Phases for January 2011” data to find the date for each phase on the plotted graph.
Circle each date and label the phase that occurs next to that date on plotted graph.
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Data Analysis:

Use your graph to complete the following questions:

1/30/2011
1. On what date was the lowest low tide? ________________ 5.5
What was the tide height? ________

1/22/2011
2. On what date was the highest low tide? ________________ -1.1
What was the tide height? ________

1/18/2011
3. On what date was the lowest high tide? ________________ -0.2
What was the tide height? ________
1-20-11 or 1-21-11
4. On what date was the highest high tide? ________________ 5.5
What was the tide height? ________
5. When the high tides were at their highest for the month, were the low tides also at their highest? If
not, where were they at? Explain.

No. the biggest low tides were occuring.


_________________________________________________________________________________
highest low tides and the highest tide occure about the same time. 1-12-11 or 1- 23- 11
_________________________________________________________________________________

shown by the data on the graph.


_________________________________________________________________________________
6. Is there any relationship between the lowest high tides of the month and the highest low tides?
Explain.

yes. the lowest high tide and the highest low tide occured about the same time at 1-12-11 or 1-13- 11
_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________
7. On your graph you can notice there are two times during the month when the high tides were higher
than normal and the low tides were lower than normal. What two phases of the moon occurred
around these times?

New Moon
Phase #1: _________________________ full moon
Phase #2: _________________________
8. On your graph you can also notice there are two times during the month when the high tides were
lower than normal and the low tides were higher than normal. What two phases of the moon
occurred around these times?

first quater
Phase #1: _________________________ thrid quater
Phase #2: _________________________

Conclusions:

1. How did your hypothesis stand up? Does the phase of the moon have an effect on the height of the
tides? Explain.
my hypothesis turned out to be correct. the phase of the moon definitely had an effect on the height of the tides. because
_________________________________________________________________________________
the graph shows that the tide height changesd from the average.
_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________

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2. In the space below draw a picture of the position of the Sun, Earth and Moon when the lowest low
tides occurred.

sun
earth moon

3. A spring tide (when high tides are higher and low tides are lower than average) occurs around the
time of the new moon and full moon. Neap tides (when high tides are lower and low tides are higher
than average) occur around the time of the first and third quarters. The diagram below shows when
the spring and neap tides occur. Using the tide data from January 2011 included in this experiment,
label the diagram below with the dates of the spring and neap tides that occurred.

Date: _____________
1-4-11

Date: _____________
1-26-11

1-12-11
Date: _____________
Date: _____________
1-21-11

4. Which tides are higher than normal during a spring tide, low or high tides? Based on the diagram
above explain why you think this happens. (Hint: it has to do with gravity)
high tides are higher than normal during a spring tide because both the sun's gravity and the moon's gravity combine
_________________________________________________________________________________

to pull on the oceans greater than normal.


_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________

Investigate Further: Why does the Sun have less influence on the tides than the Moon? You might think
that it is because the Sun is farther away than the Moon. However, it’s a little more
complicated than that.
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Tide Predictions for January 2011
New York City

date low tide (feet)* high tide (feet)* date low tide (feet)* high tide (feet)*
1/1/2011 -0.3 5.1 1/16/2011 0.1 3.7
1/1/2011 4.1 1/17/2011 -0.1 4.7
1/2/2011 -0.3 5.2 1/17/2011 4
1/2/2011 -0.5 4.2 1/18/2011 -0.2 5.1
1/3/2011 -0.3 5.2 1/18/2011 -0.5 4.3
1/3/2011 -0.5 4.3 1/19/2011 -0.5 5.3
1/4/2011 -0.3 5.2 1/19/2011 -0.8 4.5
1/4/2011 -0.6 4.3 1/20/2011 -0.7 5.5
1/5/2011 -0.3 5.1 1/20/2011 -1 4.8
1/5/2011 -0.6 4.3 1/21/2011 -0.9 5.5
1/6/2011 -0.2 4.9 1/21/2011 -1.1 4.9
1/6/2011 -0.4 4.2 1/22/2011 -0.9 5.3
1/7/2011 0 4.7 1/22/2011 -1.1 5
1/7/2011 -0.3 4.1 1/23/2011 -0.7 5.1
1/8/2011 0.2 4.5 1/23/2011 -0.9 5
1/8/2011 -0.1 4 1/24/2011 -0.5 4.8
1/9/2011 0.5 4.2 1/24/2011 -0.6
1/9/2011 0.2 1/25/2011 -0.2 4.9
1/10/2011 0.7 4 1/25/2011 -0.3 4.5
1/10/2011 0.4 3.9 1/26/2011 0.1 4.9
1/11/2011 0.9 3.9 1/26/2011 -0.1 4.2
1/11/2011 0.6 3.7 1/27/2011 0.1 4.7
1/12/2011 1 3.9 1/27/2011 0 3.9
1/12/2011 0.7 3.5 1/28/2011 0.1 4.7
1/13/2011 0.9 3.9 1/28/2011 0.1 3.8
1/13/2011 0.7 3.4 1/29/2011 0 4.6
1/14/2011 0.7 4 1/29/2011 0 3.8
1/14/2011 0.5 3.4 1/30/2011 -0.1 4.7
1/15/2011 0.5 4.2 1/30/2011 -0.1 4
1/15/2011 0.3 3.5 1/31/2011 -0.3 4.8
1/16/2011 0.2 4.4 1/31/2011 4.1

*Height is measured from an average

Moon Phases for


January 2011

New Moon Jan. 4


First quarter Jan. 12
Full Moon Jan. 19
Third Quarter Jan. 26

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Height (feet)

0
1
2
3
4
5
6

-1
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
2.2
2.4
2.6
2.8
3.2
3.4
3.6
3.8
4.2
4.4
4.6
4.8
5.2
5.4
5.6
5.8

-1.4
-1.2
-0.8
-0.6
-0.4
-0.2
1/1/2011
1/2/2011
1/3/2011
1/4/2011
1/5/2011
1/6/2011
1/7/2011
1/8/2011
1/9/2011
1/10/2011
1/11/2011
1/12/2011
1/13/2011
1/14/2011
1/15/2011
1/16/2011
1/17/2011

Date
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1/18/2011
1/19/2011
1/20/2011
1/21/2011
January 2011 Tides

1/22/2011
1/23/2011
1/24/2011
1/25/2011
1/26/2011
1/27/2011
1/28/2011
1/29/2011
1/30/2011
1/31/2011