Classroom resources spotlight: Rule of Twelfths

Published 09 October 2018

In this Year 10 resource, students explore a fascinating example of mathematical modelling: tidal heights can be modelled with a sine curve! Students read a real news article about sailors stranded on a reef when the tide dropped unexpectedly, and model the events of the story using the actual tidal data from the day. They learn about the "rule of twelfths", a well-known sailing rule of thumb which accurately predicts tidal heights, and discover that graphing the rule of twelfths generates a sinusoidal curve. Students can construct their own "rules" to create a more accurate sine curve.

This lesson focuses on using real-world data to build a deeper understanding of the properties of the sine curve.

You can download the Rule of Twelfths lesson here.