Subject: Weather and Climate
1. Topic-
2. Content-
The lesson will be about tornadoes and how to stay safe when they occur. Key vocabulary: tornado, twister, cyclone, vortex, funnel, debris, wind speed, and the Fujita Scale.
3. Goals: Aims/Outcomes-
1. Students will learn the causes of tornadoes.
2. Students will learn how to stay safe during a tornado.
3. Students will learn how to create a water vortex that simulates a tornado.
4. Objectives-
1. Students will work respectfully and cooperatively in pairs.
2. Students will display an understanding of the key vocabulary at the end of the lesson.
3. Students will demonstrate scientific inquiry while examining and analyzing the tornado in a bottle.
5. Materials and Aids-
"Tornadoes!" by Gail Gibbons, 2 liter soda bottles (empty and clean), water, food coloring, glitter, and bottle connectors or duct tape.
6. Procedures/Methods-

A. Introduction-

Background information for teacher: A tornado is a natural storm disaster created when a front of hot, humid air and a front of cool, dry air collide in the atmosphere. The warm air is pushed upward, which causes winds carrying water droplets to rotate into a vortex, speeding at up to 300 mph in the center. This spinning column of air and water droplets then begins to stretch between the earth and a convection cloud (made up of water droplets) to create a tornado. The water droplets form from the condensation of water vapor in the area within the funnel where there is low temperature and pressure. This makes the funnel visible to our eyes, because the large number of water droplets block out the sun's light, just like a thunder cloud.

In this lab, you will be able to see what a tornado looks like on a very small scale. This experiment shows water moving through a small hole in a manner that simulates the spiraling behavior of the tail of the tornado. The condensation funnel, or tail, causes great destruction for anything in its path, as it touches the earth and sweeps objects and debris up into its vortex (the spinning center). You will be able to analyze this phenomenon and describe some of its characteristics using this model.

1. The teacher will lead the students in a discussion to discover their prior knowledge about tornadoes.
2. The teacher will read the book "Tornadoes!" by Gail Gibbons to provide students with information about tornadoes.
3. To assess understanding the teacher and students will work together to come up with definitions for the key vocabulary for this lesson.

B. Development-

1.The teacher will model how to create a tornado in a bottle.
2. Fill one bottle 2/3 of the way full with water.
3. Add glitter to simulate debris and food coloring if desired.
4. Secure the mouths of the two bottle together with a bottle connector or duct tape. Check to make sure that there are no leaks.
5. Turn the contraption so that the bottle with water is on top and begin to swirl the bottle in a circular motion. A small funnel shaped tornado should start to form.
6. Once all the water has flowed into the bottom bottle, turn it over and try again.

C. Practice-

1. Students will work in pairs to create their own tornado in a bottle.
2. Once each pair has successfully built their tornado in a bottle, they will spend time analyzing and describing the phenomenon.
3. The Teacher should help to guide the analysis, getting students to talk about how the swirling motion creates a water vortex that looks like a small tornado.

D. Independent Practice-

1. To further their understanding each student will research the best ways to stay safe during a tornado.
2. Each student will be asked to discover and write a short paragraph about ways to stay safe.
3. Students will have access to written literature and the Internet.

E. Accommodations (Differentiated Instruction)-

1. During the experiment students requiring additional support will be paired with two partners.
2. For the research assignment if needed certain students will be provided with the research information, and they will just need to complete the written assignment.
3. The teacher will provide additional support as needed.

F. Checking for understanding-

1. Student pairs will demonstrate for the teacher that they have successfully created a tornado in a bottle.
2. After the research project students will come together to share and discuss what they have learned.
3. Teacher will listen for and continue to encourage students to use the key vocabulary in their discussion and research.

G. Closure-

Students will write down one new key vocabulary word that they learned and a definition, as a ticket to get out the door.
7. Evaluation-
1. At the end of the lesson students will be evaluated on how and why tornadoes are created.
2. Students will also be assessed on their knowledge of how to stay safe during a tornado.

This Lesson Plan is available at (