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Question Set: Elliptical Orbits and Geography

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:

NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  1. What cyclical changes, in terms of the relative position and distances of the moon and the sun with respect to the earth, would produce the minimum tidal range? Why?
  2. How do the elliptical orbits of the sun and the moon affect the tides?
  3. How often would you expect a new moon and a perigee of the moon to occur on the same day? Explain your reasoning.
  4. Which has the greater effect on tides during a single month: the elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun or the elliptical orbit of the moon around the earth? Why?
  5. In what year will all cycles affecting the tides coincide again to cause maximum high and low tides?
  6. Examine a globe or map of the earth. Where might you expect to find large tidal ranges? Where might you expect to find small tidal ranges? What is your reasoning for these predictions?
  7. Honolulu, Hawai‘i, USA and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico are both found at approximately 20˚ N latitude. On average, which city do you suspect would have larger tides? What geographical features led you to this conclusion?
Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.