I felt the "real-time water level data" helped to make the tide phenomena more real for these Wisconsin students. Many of them have not witnessed the ebb and flow of the tides. This also provided opportunity to analyze and apply their recently gained knowledge. I also thought that having the students create a presentation of some sort made it easier for me to truly assess their understanding and it made the whole activity more enjoyable.
We did the "Me" Connection essay so that involved writing on behalf of the students. The "Presentation" activity allowed students to cross the curricular lines with their work. One of the groups wrote a poem and another group brought in hula hoops (although no real gyrations took place) and the students represented the Sun, Moon, and Earth.