Tornado Lesson Plan – Plan to Teach to Primary Grades

Introduction to Tornadoes

A tornado is a violent weather system in which a column of air rotates from the surface of the ground to the clouds.

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The narrowest part of the tornado is the part that touches the ground. It is filled with debris of all kinds which it picks up as it passes over the area.

Most tornadoes travel about 40 kph and are 250 feet wide. Although they can be disastrous they are not as disastrous as those that travel almost 300kph and are more than a mile wide. These larger tornadoes can stay on the ground for 100 km or more causing a lot of destruction.

What is a Tornado? Grade K – 2

Tornado lesson plan for Primary grades

Objectives:

  1. Students will understand that physical processes help shape the surface of the Earth.
    2. Students will understand how tornadoes affect humans.
    3. Students will understand the causes of a tornado.Time: 4 – 6 30-minute lessons.

Materials Required:

– materials needed to make a tornado in a bottle
– wall map of North America
– a blank map of North America for each student (see link to get this blank map)
– computer and Internet access
– writing and drawing materials for each student

Students will demonstrate their learning by:

1.coloring tornado alley on the map
2. create a tornado in a bottle
3. write sentences about tornadoes
4. draw pictures of tornadoes

Lesson:

Show students a map of North America and point out Tornado Alley. Tell them that there are more tornadoes in the United States than in any other country in the world.Ask students if they have ever seen a tornado. If there are any students who have done so, let them describe the experience to the class.

Ask if any students have seen pictures of tornadoes in books or magazines. Some will have seen tornadoes on TV either in the news or in movies.

Explain to students that tornadoes usually form when cool dry air from the north mixes with warm moist air from the south.

Students will now color in their blank maps using one color for the cool air and another for the warm air. They will use a third color for Tornado Alley, which is the area in between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains.

Below is a video on tornadoes and how it is created.

Next discuss safety procedures students should be aware of when there is a tornado warning for their area. Be careful not to make this sound too dangerous because children at this age can become frightened very easily.

Have the students create a tornado in a bottle (instructions are below).

Bottled Tornado image
Bottled Tornado

How to Create a Tornado in a Bottle

Materials Needed:

2 2-litre pop bottles washed and dried.
1 1 -inch metal washer
duct tape to secure the two bottles together

Process:

Fill one of the bottles with water about 2/3 full.

Place the metal washer over the opening of the bottle.

Turn the second bottle upside down and twist it onto the metal washer.

Use the duct tape to keep the two bottles in place making sure that no water can leak out.

Now turn the bottle so that the bottle with the water is on top and swirl it in a circular fashion to make a tornado inside a bottle.

Teaching Tornadoes in Schools

Enjoy using the lesson plan described in the link below. This lesson plan is perfect for use in technology class where you can combine the objectives of a Science lesson with that of a Technology lesson.

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