Classroom Connections | The Bay of Fundy and Tidal Range


Bay of Fundy NOAA

Bay of Fundy. Image courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Hōkūleʻa was in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia this week! The Bay of Fundy is known for having one of the most extreme tidal ranges in the world. Hawaiʻi, on the other hand, is known for having one of the least extreme. Tides actually provide a great opportunity for teachers to integrate different subject areas using a project or place-based approach. Tides can be used to explore concepts in math and science through the study of the gravitational relationship between the Moon and the Earth, or the biological diversity of a tide pool ecosystem. Tides also provide an opportunity to explore concepts in geography, due to the large impact coastal geography and location on the Earth have on the tides.

fishpond_maggiepulverfishpond2_maggiepulverTides also play a significant role in many indigenous coastal cultures, including Hawaiian culture. Teachers in Hawai’i can schedule field trips with organizations like ʻAoʻao O Na loko Iʻa O Maui (Maui Fishponds Association), Paepae ʻo Heʻeia, Waikalua Loko Iʻa, and Hui Mālama Loko Iʻa, to visit fishponds and learn about the knowledge and skills of the Hawaiian farmers in designing and maintaining fishponds that used tidal phenomena to their advantage. Classes in Hawaiʻi can also work with organizations like Mālama Maunalua and Mālama O Puna that engage community members in the restoration and conservation of local tidal ecosystems while also educating them to the stories of the place.

For teachers who are not able to take their students to places where tidal phenomena can be observed, like the Bay of Fundy or a Hawaiian fishpond, the online lesson Gravity and Tides, published by Carolina Curriculum, provides a good framework for studying tides in the classroom. The lesson can also be used to explore geography by comparing the tidal range in different places. Search engines like Google provide students with the opportunity to search the internet for daily tide information, and nearly anything else, for any place on Earth. The possibilities are endless.

Tidal Stages. Image courtesy of Byron Inouye.

Tidal Stages. Image courtesy of Byron Inouye.

You might also want to check out this awesome resource from the Exploring our Fluid Earth program published by the Curriculum Research Development Group (CRDG) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, that provides a full and comprehensive physical science unit on tides.

Ready to try out any of these lessons or resources? Email us at to share with us what you do with this content – we would love to see pictures and student reflections that we can share on social media and our website!

Doing another kind of project to mālama your community? Share Your Mālama Honua Story with us!

Are your students still in the beginning stages of identifying a problem they would like to try and solve? Don’t forget to check out the Mālama Honua Challenge and share your ideas about work that can be done in the future!

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