This learning block represents one week’s work. Aim to watch at least one video and choose at least one activity or project to complete.
There are two videos to choose from about tornadoes. The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!
If you are a high school student, or you’re interested in going deeper, make sure to check out the Advanced Projects at the end of the block. Have fun!
Now choose an Activity
Tornado in a Bottle Project
In this project, you will make a simulation of a tornado in a bottle! Watch the video above to see how it’s done!
You will need:
– clear, empty bottle with a lid
Ready to level-up this project? Watch the video below for another version you can try out! All you will need is another bottle, some water, and a large container.
Don’t forget to document your project with a drawing or a photo for your Science Notebook!
Meet a Stormchaser
In this project, you will meet Indigenous stormchaser Camille Seaman and see her amazing photographs!
As you watch, think about:
– What do you think it would be like to be a stormchaser? How would it feel?
– Do you think the risks of stormchasing are worth it? Why or why not?
– How do you feel as you look at Camille Seaman’s photographs?
– Does anything in this video make inspire you or make you want to learn more?
Now it’s your turn: How can YOU document the weather that happens around you? Create a photograph, painting, drawing, or digital artwork depicting weather you see where you live OR extreme weather like tornadoes that you are more likely to see in photographs or movies.
Add your work to your portfolio!
Sing the Tornado Song
This video will teach you a catchy song about tornadoes! Listen to the words and see if you can figure out what it is teaching you.
Now try to learn some of the words. You can sing along with the chorus, or practice the whole thing! Try to perform the song for your family or make a video of yourself singing along!
Books About Tornadoes
Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library.
Tornadoes! Read Aloud
Choose at least one!
Build a Tornado Simulator
WARNING: This project requires the use of dry ice and a hot plate. Both of these can cause serious burns if not handled correctly. Always use safety gear and work with an adult. As with any project you do at home, you must do your research and take safety precautions to prevent injury. This project suggestion is provided as a resource; not as a guarantee of safety.
This is a common Sciene Fair project that takes the “tornado in a bottle” project to a whole new level! If you are comfortable assembling components and working with tools that can be dangerous, you may be ready to take this one on. Always check in with an adult before using hazardous materials. This is a project that will need support from an adult to build.
Watch the video above to get an idea of what a tornado simulator looks like. There are directions for more than one version available online, but this one from The Tornado Project is a pretty common one. The Tornado Project website will provide you with a list of materials and detailed instructions.
As you build, document the process by photographing each stage of the project. Don’t forget to record a video of the finished project in action!
Add all your documentation to your portfolio.
Tornado Risk Project
Tornadoes are measured on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale – a tool which classifies tornadoes based on how much DAMAGE they cause. In this project, you will research the EF Scale, explore the factors affecting how damaging a tornado will be, and design a home tornado shelter.
Step 1: Check out this page from Why Files. Read through the information provided, paying special attention to the details on the EF Scale. This will give you a solid idea of how tornadoes are classified.
Step 2: Try the interactive model here. The information at the top of the page will clarify how the size, wind speed, and atmospheric pressure interact to determine how destructive a tornado will be. Play around with the model and see if you can figure out where your tornadoes land on the Fujita Scale.
Step 3: Go back to the Why Files article. Keep reading where you left off. Focus especially on the sections titled ‘A question of safety,’ ‘You house: How safe?,’ and ‘The tornado shelter.’
Step 4: Using what you have learned about building tornado shelters, you will sketch a design for a home tornado shelter that someone could build in their basement. Consider what features would be needed to ensure that the shelter did not get ripped apart of crushed in a tornado. How would you make sure there was enough air supply? An easy way in and out? A place to store emergency supplies? What would provide light and heat in case of power outage? Would your shelter be large enough for a family?
Design your project on paper or using computer software. Label the parts and provide a list of materials.
Add it to your portfolio when you’re done!