Hurricanes and Tornadoes (Grades 4-8)
This lesson will allow the students to explore the concepts of hurricanes and tornadoes. By studying the scientific processes that these violent conditions undergo, the students will be more prepared for these types of violent weather.
SC Math/Science Standards Met
A. Structure of the Earth System:
#7 Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather
B. Abilities Necessary to do Scientific Inquiry
C. Measure#1 Select and use appropriate tools
D. Infermake inferences based on data
E. Understandings about Science and TechnologyPerfectly designed solutions do not exist
The student will be able to:
- explain how air masses form and behave over time
- explain the process in which a tornado forms
- explain the process in which a hurricane forms
- describe the life cycles of tornadoes and hurricanes
- computer with access to the Internet
- Activity Sheet
What on Earth, Lesson 9, "Cyclonic Storms," and Lesson 10, "The Nature of Violent Storms"
Discuss Hurricane Floyd which devastated parts of North and South Carolina in the fall of 1999. Ask the class if they know how hurricanes form; why they form during certain seasons; and what conditions make hurricanes possible.
Then discuss the tornadoes that hit Texas in 1999. Ask students if they know how tornadoes form; what conditions make tornadoes possible; and the similarities and differences between hurricanes and tornadoes.
Focus for Viewing
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, ask them to watch the video for:
- the reasons why hurricanes and tornadoes form
- the concept of two dissimilar air masses meeting
- the life cycles of storms
- the weather conditions associated with these life cycles
- the techniques for predicting these types of weather
On the Internet go to Weather - Powerful Storms.
Discuss what weather conditions are needed to generate a powerful storm. Pass out the activity sheet and go over with the class what conditions are needed for hurricanes and tornadoes.
Play the first video lesson ("Cyclonic Storms"). Fast forward to the segment where Shae Merritt is tracking the impending cyclonic storm. Pause video after the types of fronts are described. Go over each type of front and discuss the type of weather that each causes.
Fast forward to where Shae shows how the wind blows in different directions depending upon the pressure system (counterclockwiselow; clockwisehigh).
Go back to the Internet site weather.comand look at weather map for the U.S.
Find low pressure areas and have the class tell the wind direction. Find high pressure areas and have the class tell the wind direction. Have students describe warm and cold, stationary fronts and predict any severe weather.
Now play Lesson 10, "The Nature of Violent Storms." Fast forward through thunderstorms until you get to the tornado segment. Begin playing the video here and pause after conditions for tornadoes are stated and have students look at their Activity Sheets. Are these the same conditions we read about on the Inter-net? Play tape showing the tornado in action. Rewind. Play back in slow motion pointing out how the funnel comes down from the clouds, when it touches the ground, and how it travels on the ground until it finally disperses. Stop tape. Talk about differences and similarities between tornadoes and hurricanes and have students refer to their Activity Sheets for the discussion.
Fast forward to the segment on hurricanes. Play until conditions for hurricanes are stated. Pause. Discuss what the Internet says versus what the videotape says about the formation of hurricanes. Continue playing the program, showing the hurricane at work. Pause at the scene where sign on building is ripped off and tossed into the air. Ask the class to compare/contrast this destruction with the tornado's destruction
1. Ask students what the likelihood is of a hurricane going over our area. What is the likelihood of a tornado hitting us? What are the differences in conditions between the likelihood of experiencing a hurricane and tornado? Explain.
2. Have students imagine they are storm chasers. In a short essay, ask them to describe chasing a storm. They should include: the equipment they will need; what weather conditions they are looking for; a description of chasing the storm; and a description of the after effects of the storm.
1. Have students plot the weather for our area for a week. Then have them plot the conditions for a hurricane and/or tornado and project its courseshowing how it gets from its origination to its end.
2. Have students plan a community that would be hurricane/tornado-proof. What would the buildings look like? Where in the state would this community be located? What would you have in the community that you ordinarily wouldn't have? What would you leave out of the community? Explain.
1. Social Studies: Find geographical locations that are more prone to hurricanes and tornadoes. What land or water features contribute to the formation of these storms?
2. Language Arts: Write a short story about a 12-year-old and his/her dog surviving a hurricane on one of the barrier islands of South Carolina. Tell students to include what sights, sounds, and feelings they might experience in such a storm.