Tactile graphic of neap tides

Using Tactile Graphics to Teach Students with Visual Impairments About Tidal Range

Through a tactile graphic and an active model, students will gain a better understanding of spring tide and neap tide.

Due to the combined gravitational effects of the Sun and Moon, extreme tidal ranges occur twice a month at the 2 times when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are lined up. However, when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are at 90 degree angles, smaller tidal ranges occur, called neap tides. Students will better understand that Spring and Neap tide are based on the tidal ranges and not just the level of the water at low and high tide through this tactile graphic and active model.

Related Vocabulary:



Using Wikki Stix on a large piece of braille paper, create a tactile graphic describing neap tide and spring tide by using wikki stix to describe the low tide and high tide levels for each.  For students who are more advanced, exact tide levels may be added, but this is not necessary.  Show the low tide and high tide during spring tide as lower and higher than the low tide and high tide during neap tide.  See picture

Tactile graphic of high tide and neap tide
Tactile graphic of tides

Apply labels in appropriate medium for high tide and low tide as well as labels for neap tide and spring tide.


Modeling Neap Tide (Active Model)

Using your hand to model low tide and high tide, describe the difference between spring tide and neap tide as follows:

Modeling Spring Tide (Active Model)

Tactile Graphic


NGSS Standards

Grade 5 – Space Systems

PS2.B: Types of Interactions

ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

Middle School – Space Systems

ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars

High School: Forces and Interactions

PS2.B: Types of Interactions

By Laura Hospitál

Collage of tidal range

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