Introduction: Prior to beginning the lesson: (1) Cut out and laminate Vocabulary Cards for display in the classroom; (2) Photocopy Shore Image onto transparency paper for the overhead projector; (3) Photocopy What Makes Waves? (1 per student).


Group Size: Whole Class


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:

·          Explain the meaning of shore, high tide, low tide, and waves.

·          Identify the cause waves in an ocean.

·          Follow the scientific process to conduct and experiment.


Materials: Vocabulary Cards (see attachment), Shore Image (see attachment), What Makes Waves? (see attachment), large clear tub, water.



1.       Display Shore Image on the overhead projector. Ask students: What is this a picture of? Give students a chance to share answers, and then display vocabulary card “shore”. Tell students: Shore is the point where the ocean meets the land.

2.       Continue to tell students: Every day the level of the ocean changes as it meets the shore. Display vocabulary cards “high tide” and “low tide”. Tell students: At high tide the level of the ocean comes way up covering most of the beach. At low tide the level of the ocean falls back, leaving more sandy area on the beach. If you were to spend a day at a beach, you would be able to see how the level of the water changes.

3.       Ask students: What else happens in the ocean besides tides? Guide students to answer waves, and display vocabulary card “waves”. Tell students: Waves are regular movements on the surface of the water.

4.       Ask students: How many of you have ever played in the waves before? Tell me what it was like. Allow students to share their experiences.

5.       Tell students: Today we are going to do an experiment to find out what causes the waves to move in an ocean.

6.       Distribute a copy of What Makes a Wave? to each student. Display vocabulary card “hypothesis” and remind students: A hypothesis is a guess about what you think you will find out in an experiment. Direct students to write down a hypothesis.

7.       At the front of the classroom fill a large clear tub with water. Tell students: This water is like the ocean on a day without wind. Usually, there is always wind. Call a volunteer to blow on the surface of the water like wind.

8.       Ask students: What do you observe? Allow students to share their ideas. Ask students: What do you think will happen if we blow harder? Discuss students’ predictions and then test the theory. Direct students to draw their observations.

9.       Guide students to write in results and conclusion. Make sure students understand that wind causes waves, and stronger wind causes bigger waves.


Modifications: For students with special needs, provided one-on-one assistance as necessary.


Assessment: Direct students to turn to a classmate and share one thing they learned today.


Benchmark or Standards:

National Science Education Standards

NS.K-4.1 Science as Inquiry – As a result of the activities in Grades K-4, all students should develop:

·          Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry.

·          Understanding about scientific inquiry.

NS.K-4.4 Earth Science– As a result of the activities in Grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of:

·          Properties of Earth materials.

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