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Beware the Tides!

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Contest ended

Tuesday Dec 17, 2013


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Boats 'n' Tides


Captain Bowstern ...




failed voyage

Image credit: Shutterstock

The tide goes up.

The tide goes down.

Every good sailor knows that.

Every good sailor also knows how tides can impact his sailboat.

The problem here, Project ED creators, is that lots of people don’t know that changing tides can create dangers for sailors. We challenge you to show us in a 90-second video what happens to your boat when the tide goes up and the tide goes down.

  • When the tide goes down: The sailboat can hit the bottom of the river or get stuck in the shallow parts of the river (shoals) because the tide is too low to accommodate the boat’s keel.
  • When the tide goes up: The top of the sailboat could hit a bridge. A sailboat’s mast would hit a bridge overhead if the mast height of the boat is greater than the distance between the water and the bridge.

Check the Resources tab to find a diagram of your sailboat and an example tide table that you wish you had before you left the dock. Get to know these key items well and show us why they are important for a safe voyage.

Thought starters:

  • Create an animation (stop motion, claymation, etc.) that shows the hazards the sailboat faces if it catches the tides at the wrong moment.
  • This could be your green screen moment. Take advantage of special visual effects to make us feel the peril with your inexperienced sailors!
  • Using a toy boat and a clear container, show how the tides and timing affect it.
  • Give the sailors on the boat some real personality: How do they respond to the situation they are in? Is it a bad or good reaction? Add some comedy to make this lesson engaging. Make us care that they make it to their destination safely.
  • Start with characters on a boat that’s run aground or hit a bridge, and work backwards to show how they could have avoided this fate.
  • Tell us the story from the perspective of a duck following the boat — What does the duck see when it’s flying behind the boat and when it dives underwater to catch some food?

Submission requirements:

In a video no longer than 90 seconds you must:

  • Identify and define the mast and keel of your sailboat (see diagram here in the Resources tab).
  • Use your understanding of the tides and your boat’s attributes to show what happens when a sailor attempts to navigate his sailboat on a sunny afternoon:
    • When the tide is low (the keel runs aground or hits the bottom of the river)
    • When the tide is high (the mast hits a bridge)
  • Follow all official rules and requirements.

Key Dates:

  • October 15, 2013 – Contest starts
  • November 18, 2013 – Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • December 17, 2013 – Winners announced on the Project ED website

Finalist and Winner Judging Criteria:

Videos will be evaluated based on the following criteria, weighed equally:

  • Educational merit and accuracy: Your video achieves the educational goals presented in the contest brief and viewers learn intended material from your video.
  • Creativity and engagement: Your video presents educational content in a memorable way. Viewers are compelled to watch the video to completion. Your video conveys its message in an artistic, creative, and innovative way.
  • Quality of video production: Your video has high resolution and audio quality, effectively employs visual aesthetics and cinematography, and demonstrates production skills.
  • Appropriate content: Your video does not contain indecent, obscene, hateful, defamatory, or offensive material.
  • In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken on the basis of the tied entrants’ scores in the “Educational merit and accuracy” criteria.


Prizes per contest vary. In most cases, a grand prize will be awarded to one video in the Under 18 category and one in the Over 18 category. Finalist videos will also receive a prize. Rules for each contest explain how and when we will notify you and the date the prizes will be announced. Prizes are awarded at Amplify’s discretion and are subject to the applicable district and school policies. Prizes for teachers may be awarded via

Official Requirements:

  • The video’s creator must be at least 13 years old.
  • Minors must obtain a parent’s or guardian’s consent to enter the contest.
  • Your video cannot last more than 90 seconds.
  • You must use appropriate language and content.
  • You must properly clear and credit any source music, film clips, images, or locations you use.
  • You can only submit one entry per contest.
  • If you are employed by a school you must ensure your entry into this contest is in compliance with your institution’s policies.
  • Please carefully read the complete rules listed in the Contest Terms.

Sailboat Diagram

Example Tide Table

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