Fourth Grade Tornado in a Bottle/Movement of Air Masses Objective



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Fourth Grade Tornado in a Bottle/Movement of Air Masses
Objective

S4E4. Students will analyze weather charts/maps and collect weather data to predict weather events and infer patterns and seasonal changes. Using a weather map they will learn to identify the fronts, temperature, and precipitation and use the information to interpret the weather conditions. They will also use observations and records of weather conditions to predict weather patterns throughout the year and differentiate between weather and climate.


Materials

- Plastic Water Bottle for each Student - Dark Glitter

- Dish Soap - Blue Ice Cubes

- Red Food Coloring - 2 Clear Plastic Container - Bins to put the bottles and worksheets in - Blank Copy Paper

- Straws - Paper Spirals

- Pot of water and hot plate - Large Circular basin

- Straws - Ping Pong Balls

- String - Pencil or Dowel

- Cup of colored water - Large spoon

Introduction – Tornado Video and or hurricane video?

What is a Tornado?

Tornadoes are usually the extreme result of a very large thunderstorm called a supercell.

During the storm cold dry air from the North and warm moist air from the south create

instability in the atmosphere. The cold air drops as the warm air rises. The rising warm air

within the updraft eventually twists and tilts into a spiral and forms a funnel cloud.

What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane begins as tropical storms over the warm moist waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans near the equator. As the moisture evaporates it rises until enormous amounts of heated moist air are twisted high in the atmosphere. The winds begin to circle counterclockwise north of the equator or clockwise south of the equator. The relatively peaceful center of the hurricane is called the eye. Around this center winds move at speeds between 74 and 200 miles per hour. As long as the hurricane remains over waters of 79F or warmer, it continues to pull moisture from the surface and grow in size and force. When a hurricane crosses land or cooler waters, it loses its source of power, and its wind gradually slow until they are no longer of hurricane force--less than 74 miles per hour.



Tables 1 & 2 – Hurricanes - Hot Spirals/Eye of the Storm
Hot Spirals

  1. Begin heating a pot of water

  2. Draw a spiral on a sheet of paper

  3. Cut out the spiral.

  4. Tape a 12 inch piece of string to the center of the spiral.

  5. When the water is just about to boil, turn off the heat.

  6. Have the students take turns holding their spirals over the water by the free end of the string.

  7. Did the spiral turn? (Yes) What was “pushing” the spiral? (the rising water vapor)

  8. Did the air over the water feel warmer, cooler, or the same temperature as the air around it? (warmer)

  9. This is how a hurricane is formed.

  10. Info from the introduction if you want to repeat: They begin as tropical storms over the warm moist waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans near the equator. As the moisture evaporates it rises until enormous amounts of heated moist air are twisted high in the atmosphere. The winds begin to circle counterclockwise north of the equator or clockwise south of the equator. The relatively peaceful center of the hurricane is called the eye. Around this center winds move at speeds between 74 and 200 miles per hour. As long as the hurricane remains over waters of 79F or warmer, it continues to pull moisture from the surface and grow in size and force. When a hurricane crosses land or cooler waters, it loses its source of power, and its wind gradually slow until they are no longer of hurricane force--less than 74 miles per hour.


Eye of the Storm

  1. Fill a large, round basin half full of water.

  2. Using a large spoon, have one student begin swirling the water around in a steady counterclockwise direction. Keep the spoon moving in a steady even circle.

  3. Remove the spoon when the water is turning evenly. Point out the center hole, the “eye”.

  4. What do you think will happen if I pour a glass of colored water into the eye of our hurricane? (they’ll likely think it’ll spray everywhere). What did happen? (Nothing at first, but then the water started spinning quickly around the eye, then slower as it got towards the edges of the bowl)

  5. You may have to stir the water again if it stops spinning.

  6. What do you think will happen if I place a ball in the eye of our hurricane? (They’ll likely think it’ll bounce out) What happened? (Same thing as the water; nothing at first, but then the ball started spinning quickly around the eye, then slower as it got towards the edges of the bowl)

  7. Why didn’t much happen in the eye of our hurricane? (the eye of the hurricane is calm, almost no wind)

  8. Where is the water moving the fastest? (closest to the eye) The slowest? (by the edges of the bowl)


Tables 3 &4 – Hot Spirals/Tornado in a Bottle

Movement of Air Masses

  1. Fill a clear plastic container with 4 inches of water and let the water sit for 30 seconds until still.

  2. Place a blue ice cube at one end of the plastic container and add 2 drops of red food coloring in the water at the opposite end of the container. Do not shake the table or bump the box. Watch what happens to the red and blue food coloring. Explain that the red food coloring represents warm air and the blue ice cube represents cold air.

  3. How does this resemble a weather front? The red food coloring is warm – warm air rises. The blue ice cube is cold – cold air sinks.

  4. When 2 air masses of different temperatures meet, they form a border or front. This meeting of two fronts produces clouds, rain, thunder, or other types of storms like tornadoes.

Air Speed and Lift

  1. Cut two 6-inch lengths of thread. Tape the end of one string to a ping pong ball. Do the same with the other string and ball. Tie the two loose ends of the strings to an unsharpened pencil so that the ping pong balls hang side by side, 4 inches apart.

  2. Use a drinking straw to blow air directly in between the ping pong balls. Position yourself so the straw is level with the ping pong balls and about 4 to 5 inches behind them. What happens to the ping pong balls when you do this? (the two balls push together – The faster air is moving the lower it’s pressure is. Therefore, the air that you blow in between the ping pong balls has a lower pressure than the air on the outside of the ping pong balls. Said another way, the air on the outside of the ping pong balls has a higher pressure than the air in between the ping pong balls. This high pressure air moves toward the lower pressure air and it pushes the ping pong balls together in the process)

  3. This is how a tornado can destroy a house in as little as 4 seconds. When first hit, the house fills with pressure which causes the roof to burst off. Though tornadoes spin in a cyclical motion, the fact that they're so big—with a typical footprint measuring 500 feet wide—means that a house is effectively hammered by straight-line winds. After the roof, the side walls parallel to the direction of these winds will typically go first, Reinhold says, because they feel the most suction pulling them in (just like the ping pong balls). The front, windward wall then gets pushed in by the tornado, and finally the back wall blows out, all within about a second.

  4. Blow air on the left side of the balls. Which ball moved the most, the closer ball or the one farther away? (the one further away, again due to air pressure)

Make Your Own Tornado in a Bottle

  1. Open the bottle, pour out ¼ of the water and add a few drops of dish washing liquid.

  2. Sprinkle in a few pinches of glitter (this will make your tornado easier to see).

  3. Put the cap on tightly.

  4. Turn the bottle upside down and hold it by the neck.

  5. Quickly spin the bottle in a circular motion for a few seconds, stop and look inside to see if you can see a mini tornado forming in the water. You might need to try it a few times to get it working.

What’s Happening?

Spinning the bottle in a circular motion creates a water vortex that looks like a mini tornado. The water is

rapidly spinning around the center of the vortex due to centripetal force (an inward force directing an

object or fluid such as water towards the center of its circular path). Vortexes found in nature include

tornadoes, hurricanes and waterspouts (a tornado that forms over water).

Look What We Did in Discovery Lab Today!
Today we learned about how tornadoes and hurricanes are formed. As part of the activity we made our own tornadoes in a bottle!
You can make one too, here’s how:


  1. Open a plastic water bottle and dump out ¼ of the water.

  2. Add a few drops of dish washing liquid.

  3. Sprinkle in a few pinches of fine, dark glitter (this will make your tornado easier to see).

  4. Put the cap on tightly.

  5. Turn the bottle upside down and hold it by the neck.

  6. Quickly spin the bottle in a circular motion for a few seconds, stop and look inside to see if you can see

a mini tornado forming in the water. You might need to try it a few times before you get it working

properly.


Thank you for contributing to the Husky Excellence Campaign to Make This Lab Possible!


Look What We Did in Discovery Lab Today!
Today we learned about how tornadoes and hurricanes are formed. As part of the activity we made our own tornadoes in a bottle!
You can make one too, here’s how:

  1. Open a plastic water bottle and dump out about ¼ of the water.

  2. Add a few drops of dish washing liquid.

  3. Sprinkle in a few pinches of dark glitter (this will make your tornado easier to see).

  4. Put the cap on tightly.

  5. Turn the bottle upside down and hold it by the neck.

  6. Quickly spin the bottle in a circular motion for a few seconds, stop and look inside to see if you can see

a mini tornado forming in the water. You might need to try it a few times before you get it working

properly.


Thank you for contributing to the Husky Excellence Campaign to Make This Lab Possible!




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