THE UPS AND DOWNS OF IT: WIND
Kites fly, balloons soar, flags flap, seeds travel, waves roar,
and houses collapse; all by the power of the wind. Yet how many students
are aware of just how wind is formed and how important a role it plays in
determining our weather?
The following lesson on wind could serve as a spinning-off point for a whole
unit of study on weather, or be one of a series of lessons on this topic.
Students learn that wind is created when hot and cold air meet. This process
is observed during two experiments using water and food coloring. Students
record their predictions and information they learn in journals. They also
discover just how important the wind is in the making of our weather patterns.
Take a Look, #17: Wind
Reading Rainbow, #4: Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain
Students will be able to:
- describe how wind is created
- explain how and why wind is an important part of our weather
- list several ways that wind affects our weather and environment
- observe, experiment, gather and record data, as they chart daily wind
strength and temperatures
For Class Demonstrations:
- indoor/outdoor thermometer (mounted where students can see it)
- class chart of the Beaufort Wind Scale (see worksheet #2)
- calculators for worksheet #1
- 2 bottles (large baby food jars work well)
- food coloring (red and blue)
- warm and cool water
- lightweight cardboard
- small juice or soda bottle
- food coloring
- small lump of plasticene
For the Class to Share:
- 4-6 small buckets or containers to hold water
- hot and cold water
Introduce this lesson by telling students that today we will
learn about something that can be as tame as a kitten and wild as a tiger,
something that you can t really see but can knock your house over. Have
them try and guess what it is by asking yes/no questions until someone guesses
WIND. Tell them that wind plays a very important part in our weather and
that we will be learning just why this is so.
Conduct an experiment similar to the one shown towards the beginning of
the Take a Look, #17: Wind program. Show students the materials to be used
in the experiment and pose the question of what will happen to the colored
water in a warm bottle when it is placed on top of a bottle of cold water.
Allow time for predictions and discussion. Have students write and draw
pictures in their journals of what the water will look like once the experiment
is conducted. Begin the experiment by putting a little blue food coloring
in one bottle and filling it with cool water. Then put a little red food
coloring in the other bottle and fill it with warm water. Hold the cardboard
over the top of the red bottle and turn it over on top of the blue one.
Carefully pull out the cardboard to see what happens. Have discussion about
what happened and how that relates to the formation of wind. Allow more
time for adding information to student journals.
Tell students that they will now view a video about wind. To
give students a specific responsibility while viewing, ask them to pay particular
attention to the part where the woman shows with a moving diagram how wind
is formed. See if they can relate what just happened in the experiment to
what she explains. Tell them she will use the word denser and ask if anyone
knows what that word means. Establish meaning for this word. Also tell students
that at the end of the video they will see directions for making something
that helps people predict the weather. Tell them that they will be making
these also. Ask if anyone would like to predict what this instrument might
be (a thermometer).
START the video of Take a Look, #17: WIND after
the opening credits. STOP the video after the woman says, That movement
results in wind. Ask for volunteers to explain what she has shown, i.e.,
What happens when warm air rises? Ask for explanations of how this relates
to the experiment done in class. Allow time for discussion.
Before resuming the video, tell students that they will now see an experiment
on the video similar to the one you did in class and that after it is over,
you will ask them to review with a partner what they have learned and then
record in their science journals what the two experiments showed. RESUME
STOP video after the experiment and her comments of explanation are
finished. Allow time for students to write in their journals. Students can
also be instructed to draw pictures of how wind is created. Allow time for
sharing of journals now or later. RESUME video.
PAUSE after speaker says, Wind is a very important part of our weather.
Ask students what they think he means by this. (This will probably be quite
a sophisticated question for most early primary students). Ask students
to listen carefully to the facts presented so that they can help you list
them on a chart afterwards. RESUME video.
STOP video after the sixth fact has been presented, i.e., that the
wind gives us pleasure and the picture showing someone hang gliding. Ask
students to recall ways that the wind affects us and our weather. Record
these facts on a chart entitled, What Does the Wind Do?
Before resuming video, tell students that winds can also be destructive;
that s why it s important for us to have methods of predicting the weather.
PAUSE after the speaker says, It is only by recording the weather
and studying it that we can hope to forecast the arrival of these violent
wind storms.... Tell students that they ll now see several ways people forecast
weather. Ask for ideas about what these might be (weather stations, satellites
in space, a thermometer). RESUME video.
STOP video after she is finished giving directions for making a thermometer
and says, Be sure you seal off the top of the bottle with the plasticene.
(Do not show girl testing the water; students will discover this for themselves
Ask students what we learned about thermometers from the video,
i.e., that they are important for predicting the weather. Tell them that
it is time for them to make their own thermometers and to test them out.
Distribute a bottle, straw, and piece of plasticene to each student. Each
group of 4 or 5 students will also need a container of food coloring and
a container from which to pour water.
Remind students of the directions seen in the video and review these. Begin
by putting several drops of food coloring into their bottle and then filling
it to about an inch from the top with water. Then have them wrap the piece
of plasticene around the straw and put the straw into the bottle. Remind
them to be sure to seal off the top of the bottle with the plasticene.
As students finish following these steps, have a table ready with several
sets of buckets of hot and cold water. Students take turns testing out their
thermometers by placing them first in one bucket and observing the level
of the water and then in the second bucket. Encourage discussion as to what
is happening and why. Relate this to how a real thermometer works and ask
for any differences they see between their thermometers and the classroom
This activity leads right into having students begin taking turns reading
the outside temperature at the same time each day. Have students record
these temperatures for several weeks. Ask questions comparing/contrasting
these numbers, i.e., How much colder was it today than yesterday? On which
day of the week was it the warmest this week? After you have collected at
least several week s worth of temperatures, distribute worksheet #1 for
students to complete with a partner or on their own.
Contact a local meteorologist and invite him/her in to speak
to the students about weather forecasting.
Contact a weather station, if one is located close by, and set up a field
trip for your class.
Write to another classroom of students from a different part of the country
and compare/contrast temperatures and wind speed for the same time period.
Science: If appropriate for the grade level, use both
the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales when recording the daily temperatures.
Compare/contrast these scales. Point out the freezing and boiling points
for each. Have students create a graph that depicts the temperatures they
recorded in both scales.
Explain to students that they don t need fancy instruments to know how fast
the wind is moving. Tell them about the Beaufort scale which is a wind-rating
system named after its inventor, Sir Francis Beaufort, a British admiral.
This scale describes how the wind behaves at various speeds. For instance,
a calm day rates a 0, while a hurricane (like in the video) rates a 12.
Pass out copies of Worksheet #2 and acquaint them with this scale. Also,
display a class chart of the scale for all to see. Begin having students
take turns charting the speed of the wind using this scale. After several
weeks worth of speeds have been recorded, have students graph these and
also compare with the temperatures they have recorded. Discuss patterns
they may see and make comparisons and contrasts.
Language Arts/Social Studies: Show the beginning of the Reading Rainbow,
#4: Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain where Levar has the television on
and a woman is giving the weather forecast. Have students write their own
weather forecasts and video them to show to parents and other classes.
Make a chart of the following poem and read together with students. Ask
them what they think the white sheep are: White sheep, white sheep On a
blue hill, When the wind stops, You all stand still. When the wind blows,
You walk away slow. White sheep, white sheep, Where do you go? -Christina
Art: Make kites and go outside on a windy day and fly them.
Have students construct a pinwheel.
Master Teacher: Susan Deese-Laurent
Click here to view the
worksheet associated with this lesson.
Lesson Plan Database
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