Modeling Ocean Processes


Type: Investigation

Theme: Nature

Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Learning Target: Students will learn how to model ocean processes using periodic functions, illustrations, or research.


For this investigation each student group of two will: 

  1. Explore two questions about an ocean dataset. Select only one dataset for your project.
    1. Seattle tides
    2. [or] Waves off the Washington coast.
  2. Show and annotate data to answer that question.
  3. Build a model of the process. Select one or more:
    1. Illustrated model
    2. Infographic
    3. Annotated Desmos model
    4. Annotated Spreadsheet model
    5. Other (Python, DataWrapper, etc.)
  4. Write a new question about your data. You do not need to answer this question.
  5. Final product will be a Word document or PowerPoint.



Option 1: Seattle Tides


  1. How does the moon and geography affect tides in Seattle? (Be specific and make a model)
  2. What time and how high will high tide be in Seattle on your next birthday?

Data Sources


Option 2: Waves off the Washington Coast


  1. If you were to plan an excursion out to sea, which month would be most dangerous and which month would be most safe? Please show evidence in an annotated graph.
  2. Is there a relationship between wave period and height? If so, please describe and model.

Data Sources

When downloading this data, select “Binned Months.”

  1. Average Period:
  2. Maximum Height:

Additional Resourcess

Exit Ticket
CCSS Math Practice
  • I can model with mathematics.
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models


Samara and Madison's Tide Project
Melia's Tide Project
Armand's Tide Project