Where Did the Seals Go?

Basic Research Question 1: How does the tide affect the number of seals observed?

If you live near the seashore, you probably know that the water level goes up and down, depending on the time of day.  These are known as tides, and they are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon! To learn more about tides, click here.

Part A: Prediction and Reasoning

Write answers to the following prompts on your sheet of paper.

1. Make a prediction.  What time of tide would you expect to see the most seals hauled out on the rocks?

2. Explain your reasoning.  WHY do you think that tides would affect seals in this way?

Part B: Analyze the Data

Look at the dataset below.  On your piece of paper, illustrate the data by making a graph.  Your graph should have clear labels on both the x-axis and the y-axis.  The type of graph (scatterplot, column graph, etc) is up to you.

This table shows the mean number of seals we observed at different times of tide.  High and low tide are approximately six hours apart. Each number is an average of many trips.  

 Part C: Interpret the Results and Make Arguments from Evidence

Write answers to the following prompts on your sheet of paper.

1. Make a claim that answers the research question (one sentence).

2. What evidence was used to write your claim?  Reference specific parts of your graph.

3. Explain your reasoning.   Make sure to connect your answer to what you have learned about seals and tides.

4. Was your prediction supported by the results? Use evidence to explain why or why not.

5. Think back to our scenario at the beginning.  Can your results be used to explain why your friend saw several hundred seals, but you only saw 20?  Make a prediction about the tide level during your trip vs. your friend’s trip.

6. How would you follow up?  Describe a new question that should be investigated to build on these results, and what future data should be collected to answer your question.

Congratulations! Your final analysis should include the following components:

  • Your answers to the two video questions

  • A statement of the research question that you chose/were assigned

  • Your prediction and your reasoning

  • Your labelled graph

  • Your answers to the results questions


Share your results with your teacher, and/or by emailing it to Project O: projecto@oceanology.org, attn: Dr. Molly

**Educators and/or homeschool parents: educator guides are available for all research projects. 

Email mjacobs@oceanology.org to request an educator guide**

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