King Tides Resources for Educators

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The California King Tides Project offers many opportunities for students and teachers in science and humanities. Please let us know how you engaged your students in king tides and any suggestions for how we can better support your efforts.

What can students do?

  • Learn about king tides, read king tides photography tips, and be sure to review and emphasize safety.
  • Identify ecologically, economically, culturally, and/or personally significant coastal locations to visit and photograph during the king tides.
  • Determine the tide height prediction at your photography location.
  • During the photography session, make notes on infrastructure, residences, businesses, recreation amenities, and plant and animal communities that are impacted by the high tides or will be vulnerable to future sea level rise. How do the weather conditions contribute to the actual water level?
  • Upload photos and then check back as a class to view the photographic data displayed on an interactive Story Map. Participants can upload their photos via a web browser or download an app (which will allow them to input their data on location and finish uploading later when they're on WiFi. No personal information need be submitted. You and your students can practice using the app ahead of time - we'll delete photos taken outside of the King Tides period.
  • Research historical photos of chosen locations and observe changes over time. One source for photos of the outer coast is the California Coastal Records Project. Choose "time comparison" to view all available photos of a location. Your city library or historical society may also have photos.
  • Teachers may choose to assign particular locations in order to collect their own time sequence over the years.
  • View projected impacts of sea level rise at This map allows you to see projected inundation at various sea level heights. Information on potential future sea levels in California can be found by reading Rising Seas in California, from April 2017. How will sea level rise impact your community, or another community that has cultural, economic, or ecological value to California?
  • Interview community elders who have memories of what the shoreline was like 30 or more years ago. Has there been noticeable erosion or changes in vegetation or land use? Do they have stories to share about their coast?
  • Communicate to your school, parents, or community about the impacts of sea level rise and the results of your California King Tides project. Share how things have changed and how they are projected to change.
  • Calculate your personal carbon footprints using a calculator designed for students in middle school and older by the University of Washington and Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station. Then, propose community-level solutions that would lower your entire class's carbon footprint. For example, what changes in your community would make it easier to travel by bike or transit?
  • Students can use their experience with the King Tides Project as inspiration for entering the Coastal Commission's video challenge for middle and high school students, due March 31.

Classroom lessons and demonstrations on sea level rise:

Virtual Field Trips to Coastal State Parks

Did you know that you can take your students on a virtual field trip to three different California State Parks without ever leaving your classroom? Explore California's coastal State Parks with the PORTS Distance Learning Program at Crystal Cove State Park, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, and Año Nuevo State Reserve to dive into a discussion of what makes these parks unique and how these coastal areas will be affected by sea level rise and climate change. PORTS videoconference programs are FREE and are aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Request your program today.

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