In light of the terrible tornadoes that have affected North Texas & Moore, Oklahoma, my kids have been asking a lot of questions about tornadoes; especially since we got nailed with the same storm that caused those tornadoes. As a result, I am planning a tornado unit study to do with them this week. The resources I’m using are below; while most are free, I do also list the books that I use as well. You can either purchase them to add to your library or check your local library.
A lesson plan on tornadoes can be included with an overall weather unit, but it can also stand on its own. I plan to incorporate videos, discussion, news of actual tornadoes, books, games, experiments and worksheets. The younger kids will also complete a lapbook, which I’ll share in a different post (mainly because I haven’t created it yet!) By the time the lesson is completed, children will be able to answer the following questions:
- What is a tornado?
- How is a tornado created?
- What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?
- How much warning can we get for a tornado? Explain.
- What type of conditions are “optimal” for a tornado?
Youtube can be a great source of information! There are tons and tons of videos on tornadoes, including some of recent tornadoes that devastated Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. The following video is great; it shows the “birth” of a tornado, and it’s put out by National Geographic.
Discovery also has a selection of 11 tornado videos to choose from. Topics include the dangers of tornadoes, why the Midwest is such a great breeding ground for them, storm chasers and more.
The kids will read the tornado facts on Weather Wiz Kids. This page has so much information that will be helpful. In fact, I think it may have all the information they need to know! It’s also important to know what to do in case of a tornado, especially for those of us who live in Tornado Alley. Everything found on these 2 pages would make great additions to a tornado lapbook, which, again, I will be posting in a future post.
Here is a packet of tornado facts that is full of specific information that would be perfect for middle schoolers and high schoolers.
Tornado Learning Games
Learning just wouldn’t be complete without some fun games to reinforce what you’ve learned! Here are some great sites with a variety of different games that will complement a tornado lesson perfectly:
- Tornado and other weather games – from Learning Games for Kids. This site has online games as well as puzzles and fun activity printables.
- This is a pretty neat Flash based storm chaser game from our friends at Discovery. It’s actually pretty neat!
Fun Tornado Science Experiments
Hands on experiments are a wonderful way for kids to learn. Have your kids create a tornado in a bottle or simulate a tornado in a jar. Either one sounds fun! I think I will have my kids do both; the younger ones will have an easier time with the jar, while the older ones can do the bottles.
Free Tornado Worksheets
For those of you who like to give worksheets to your kids, I found some great free worksheets for you to use. Soft Schools has a page that allows you to generate your own tornado worksheets. I love worksheet generators, because personalized is always best!
Enchanted Learning (one of my favorite sites!) has an extensive selection of tornado worksheets. I always recommend the worksheets from Enchanted Learning, as I believe they offer one of the best and widest selection of topics I’ve ever seen.
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