King Tides Resources for Educators
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About King Tides
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?
- For upper elementary students, a lesson plan for drawing the low tides while at the shoreline and predicting high tide changes.
- For K-5 students, download and print a King Tides Science Journal in
English or Spanish for use during King Tides observations.
(Next Generation Science Standards connections)
- 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 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.
- Create a video for the Coastal Commission's Climate Video Challenge,
open to middle and high school students. This year's theme is "What is your vision for a thriving future?"
Entries are due May 31, 2023.
- 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 coast.noaa.gov/slr. This map allows you to see projected inundation at various sea level
heights. If you set the sea level rise viewer to two feet, you can use the King Tides photos to validate
this climate change model. Does the sea level rise viewer at two feet reflect what you're seeing in the
King Tides photos (which show us water level about one to two feet higher than the average level throughout the year)?
What do you notice and wonder as you compare the photos with the sea level rise map? An alternate sea level
rise viewer is the Our Coast Our Future map.
- 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.
- Learn about tides and king tides from the Exploratorium, with videos and science activities.
- Create a King Tides Flipgrid video by responding to this topic from California State Parks.
- 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?
- King Tides Photo Map Exploration Prompts
Middle and High School:
- Show students a dramatic picture of a King Tide, preferably at a recognizable
place or near where they live. Ask them to share: What do you notice? What do you wonder? What does it remind you of?
- King Tides scavenger hunt. Find photos of the following:
A big wave hitting a cliff.
A beach covered in water
A flooded street
People watching the waves
- What is the most surprising picture you found? What do you notice? What do you wonder?
- What do you predict will happen to the cliffs and buildings next to the beach getting hit
by big waves? Why?
- What do you predict will happen to the places that are flooded? Why?
- These pictures were taken at high tide. How might they look different at low tide?
- What do you predict might happen to the things (animals, people, cars, cliffs, buildings, etc.)
in the pictures if it was always high tide?
- What solutions can you think of to protect these places from King Tides and sea level rise?
More classroom lessons and demonstrations on sea level rise:
- How Warming Leads to Sea Level Rise, 3 min. video from the National Park Service
- Human Impact on Earth's Climate, 6th grade project-based unit from Stanford Center
for Assessment, Learning, and Equity and the San Francisco Unified School District: Teacher Unit, Student Unit, Slides
- Youth Exploring Sea Level Rise Science Educator Guide (contains some outdated links to California King Tides webpages, which
can be easily found by exploring this site)
- Global Climate Change and Sea Level Rise, middle school lesson from Cal Academy
- Lessons in Sea Level Rise, for middle and high school from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Sea Level Rise and King Tides (contains some outdated links to California King Tides webpages, which
can be easily found by exploring this site)
- Data in the Classroom sea level rise lessons from NOAA
- A video from California Academy of Sciences
and San Francisco Unified School District on why global warming causes sea level rise
- The second unit in California Coastal Voices is "Concrete
Questions: Engineering Solutions for the California Coast," which deals with shoreline erosion and sea level rise
implications and can be completed independent from the other units. For middle and high school grades. Download the unit and access related online resources.
- San Mateo County's Youth
Exploring Sea Level Rise Science program, including guest presentations, field trips, lesson plans.
Virtual Field Trips to Coastal State Parks
Did you know that you can take your students on a virtual field trip to more than 40 California State Parks
without ever leaving your classroom? Teachers and students are invited to explore California State Parks with
the PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students)®
Program, a FREE distance learning program that uses video conferencing to connect students to parks. Students
will engage in meaningful learning experiences as they learn about what makes each park unique and how these coastal
areas will be affected by the impacts of climate change. PORTS Programs are FREE and are aligned with Common Core
and Next Generation Science Standards. Visit www.ports-ca.us
to browse available PORTS Programs and book one for your class today.