THIS LESSON IS A BREEZE, SO DON'T "BLOW" IT!
Students will have the opportunity to discover where the wind
comes from through exploration of air and its influence on the environment.
Through the processes of scientific inquiry, hands-on activities, and problem
solving, students will be able to gain a greater knowledge and appreciation
of the relationship of air and the effect it has on the weather cycle. Emphasis
on wind will offer students additional experience and understanding of air
and its properties.
"Look Up" #19 "The Sun and the Wind" TV
"Take a Look" #17 "The Wind" TV Ontario
Students will be able to:
- Explain that air is all around us
- Demonstrate how air takes up space
- Recognize that air moves
- Explain ways man uses air
- Identify how air influences the weather
- Conclude that wind is the result of the movement of air
- Construct an instrument which helps to determine the direction of
- Appreciate the good things the wind can do for us
- Understand that wind can also be destructive
- Laser Disc Player
- Copy of book to read to the class "
- Bell or whistle (for a signal)
- Masking tape, string, or chalk
- 5-6 measuring tapes and/or yardsticks
- Hand mixer
- Whipping cream (1 pint)
- 1/4 C. sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or flavoring
- Mixing bowl
- 1-2 packages "Twinkies" *(cut "Twinkies" into
- Serving spoon and plate
- 6-10 "Twinkies" or similar sponge cakes cut into four equal
- Plastic spoons for tasting
- Paper towels and/or napkins
- Two balloons: each taped on either end of yardstick
- Platform or balancing pedestal for yardstick
- Six strong plastic bags (bread bags are great!)
- Two small desks or tables (the same size)
- Wrapped, hardtack candy (at least one pound bag)
Cooperative Group Materials:
- Clear plastic glasses filled half-way with water
- Pencils, scissors, crayons, rulers, permanent markers
- Weather vane kit which consists of the following:
- (6x6) square of cardboard
- Small ball of clay (1" in diameter)
Post-Viewing Activity Center Materials:
- "Get Wind of This!" journal for each student
- Balloon *(Any size)
- One straw
Pinwheel "Fan" Club:
- Pencil, scissors, cellophane tape, glue, markers, crayons, stapler/staples
- One three-speed table fan
- Windmill pattern
- Colorful wrapping and/or butcher paper
- Sturdy cardboard strips (approx. 12x1") or 12x14" dowels
(enough for each student)
- One box of small brads for cardboard, or strong tacks/small nails
- My 'Air'ry-Go-Round! (Angel Chimes):
- One or two sets of "angel chimes" and candles...(chimes
are usually found during the Christmas season).
- One closely supervised box/book of matches
- Pencils, rulers, good cutting scissors, markers, glue, needle/thread
- Airtight plastic bags, old, clean nylon stockings (cut off panty portion
- Old, clean socks
- Tissue paper
- Thin material
- Dowels or rulers
- Pins or carefully supervised gluegun/gluesticks
- Graph paper
- Paper bags
- Parachute material scraps
- Air: invisible gasses in our atmosphere surrounding the earth
- Weather: condition of the atmosphere ie; moisture, temperature, clouds,
- Wind: motion of air
- Low Pressure/High Pressure: measurement of air barometric pressure
which influence the conditions of the weather.
*Divide students into cooperative groups (five or six students
1. Give each student a balloon and ask them to write their name or an identifiable
logo with permanent marker on the outside of the balloon. Then...draw a
picture on the top of the first page of their ("Get Wind of This")
journal describing what their balloon looks like. (allow only one minute
for this assignment.)
2. Explain to the students that in a minute they will receive a signal (bell,
whistle, etc.) to blow up their balloons. Before the signal, however, ask
each student to draw another picture in their journals of what they predict
their balloon will look like after it is blown up.
3. Ask students, "Does your second picture look different than your
If the response is "YES" (which it should be) ask students, "Why
do you think each of your pictures look different?" Then ask, "What
do you think will cause your balloon to look bigger after you blow it up?"
4. Give the students a signal to blow up their balloons...( ***DO NOT LET
THEM TIE IT OFF YET!!!***)...and pinch the opening tightly with their finger
so no air will escape.
5. Ask students to describe to a partner in their cooperative group what
their balloon looks like now that it is blown up.
6. Following a brief description (approximately 30 seconds) allow students
to let the air escape out of their balloons. ***(This activity may be noisy,
but is still easy to keep under control if structure is emphasized at the
beginning of the lesson.)
7. Invite students to discover the many ways they observed air coming out
of their balloons. Be sure to incorporate the five senses. ie; smell, touch,
sound, sight, (even taste), etc.
8. Ask students to draw two of their observations of air escaping out of
the balloons...then discuss these observations with other members in cooperative
9. Mathematics can also play an important role in the study of air and wind.
Involve students in an additional activity by allowing them to play, "Balloon
*(This activity is best conducted in a large room with a lot of open space
or in an open area of the playground.).
Mark off a "Launching" line with string, chalk, or masking tape.
Ask each student to write their name on a small piece of masking tape and
place it on the ground where they predict their deflating balloon will land.
Ask students to blow up their balloon then to pinch off the opening until
they hear the signal (bell or whistle).
At the signal, students should release their balloons, then compare/contrast
actual measurement with that of the predicted measurement. (Standard of
measurement should be consistent).
*(Measurement of height adds extra mathematical challenge and dimension
to this previewing activity!).
It is important for students to understand that the best learning
experiences result when a "focus" or challenge is set for each
concept being taught.
Educational video viewing is no exception!
Explain to students that they are about to embark on an exciting adventure
as they discover the unique properties of air and how its movements and
changing pressure cause wind.
As students begin to view these segments of video, challenge them to identify
as many different characteristics of air and wind as they can.
*(students should be encouraged to note these characteristics in their journals
by either writing or simply sketching each new idea as it is being presented
the video segments!).
1. BEGIN "Look Up" #19 "Air and Wind"
(TV Ontario) video where Imagination asks Robot, "Where does the wind
Play through until Imagination says, "It's hard to pin down."
STOP Video. Ask students "What is wind?" Discuss.
Tell students that the next segment demonstrates additional characteristics
of air. Have the students jot in their journals each characteristic as it
is presented in the video. (If students are too young to write in journals,
pause the video after each characteristic and discuss it.).
RESUME video and play through until Robot says, "There are lots
of ways to see it."
Discussion: Elicit from the students some of the properties of air mentioned
in the video such as:
Air has temperature.
Air can be moist.
Air effects the weather.
Air is important/essential to life.
You cannot see,smell or taste air.
You can feel and hear air.
Air constantly presses against us.
Although invisible there are ways to see air.
Activity: Whipping Cream
To demonstrate that air is an ingredient in many of the foods that we eat,
whip a pint of whipping cream for the students.
Ask students to draw a picture in their journals of what the whipping cream
looks like when it is first poured into a bowl. Explain that you are going
to use an electric hand mixer to beat the cream. Ask students to predict
what will happen after the cream is whipped.
After cream has been whipped, invite students to draw another picture in
their journals of what the whipped cream looks like.
Encourage students to discuss what they think happened to make the cream
stiffen and fluff up. (air was whipped into the cream).
Ask students to draw a picture of there favorite dessert covered in "heaps"
of whipped cream.
Cut up "Twinkies" or similar sponge cakes into small pieces, then
spoon a small dollop of whipped cream on the top of each piece. Serve to
students and enjoy! Don't forget the napkins and/or paper towels!
Activity: Seeing air bubbles
Give each group of students a clear, plastic paper cup half filled with
water. Give each student a straw. Ask them to blow into the water and observe
the air bubbles. Encourage students to draw their observations in their
Ask students to discuss their observations in cooperative groups.
Each group should discuss what resulted from blowing air into the straw.
Students should be encouraged to explain why bubbles formed inside the cup
of water as more air was directed from the straws into the cup.
2. FAST FORWARD the tape to the activity where two girls are balancing
balloons on a ruler.
Discussion: Ask the students if air has weight. Accept all responses. Tell
them to watch the video to see if air really does have weight.
PLAY video until balloon popping sequence ends.
Discussion: Ask students to discuss their observations. Ask them why they
think one side of the yardstick tilted down after the balloon on the opposite
side of the stick was popped.
If time permits, Reinforce this concept (that air has weight) by replicating
the balloon activity in the classroom as an extension or follow-up activity.
Activity: Lifting a Student on Bags of Air (Teachers: please view this segment
without the students before conducting this activity.)
Hold up six strong plastic bags (bread bags are ideal!) and ask the students
if filled with air, could these bags lift you or a classmate up?
Choose seven students to help demonstrate this activity to the class.
Put one desk or small table on top of another desk or table of the same
size (as shown in the video).
Ask six students to sit around the table with the bags "sandwiched"
Have seventh student sit on the top table. (Be sure to "spot"
Ask the students to predict what they think will happen to the top table
after the plastic bags are filled up with air.
Have the students blow into the bags, then discuss what happens.
Ask students to draw a picture in their journals.
Explain to students that in the next segment of video they will discover
how air travels from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas.
Ask students to determine the paths cool air and warm air travel as they
watch this next segment of video.
RESUME the tape. Play through "molecule" segment.
STOP the tape when Imagination says, "I guess people don't like
being crowded any more than molecules do!"
*(During activity, FAST FORWARD tape to segment where screen shows
the word, "Wind").
Activity: "People Glob" *(This is another activity that needs
a lot of structure in order to control the noise-level!) Ask students to
crowd closely together in one area of the room. Explain to them that they
are going to pretend to be glued together in a "People Glob".
They will attempt to "squeeze" through the door as a "bonded"
group. While students attempt to "pile" through the doorway, throw
some wrapped, hardtack candy all around the perimeter of the room. Allow
time for students to break away from the "glob" and "disperse"
around the room to retrieve the candy.
After an appropriate signal, (bell, whistle, etc.) call students back to
Ask students how it felt to be huddled together in such "close"
quarters. Inquire as to whether or not they were able to get through the
door when they were all bound together.
Explain to students that when they were all "globbed" together,
they were creating an area of high Pressure. The minute the candy was tossed
out and classmates spread about to search for the dispersed candy, the high
pressure zone turned into an area of low pressure.
Explain to the students that air molecules work the same way. An area of
high pressure brings about warm, sunny weather. An area of low pressure
creates unsettled, stormy weather.
Warm air rises and cool air falls.
The constant movement of warm air and cool air traveling from areas of high
pressure to areas of low pressure is what causes wind!
Help students to focus on this next segment of video by asking them to draw
a small diagram of how they imagine their "microscopic" eyes might
see warm air and cool air moving from areas of high pressure to low pressure.
*(Allow about three minutes for students to complete their journal diagrams).
Ask students to compare their descriptions with the descriptions shown on
this next segment of video.
STOP the video where Imagination says, "...just think about
the movement of warm and cold air!".
******* EJECT "Look Up" video and INSERT "Take
a Look" #17 ("Wind") video into the machine.***********
During the video transition, explain to the students that they will have
the opportunity to view a segment from another video showing more ideas
about the wind.
Set a focus for this segment of video by asking students to predict what
they think might be a good "instrument" to indicate which direction
the wind is moving.
Discuss ideas, then explain to the class that in this segment of the new
video, they will learn a fun, easy way to make a weather vane.
START "Take a Look" # 17 video at the beginning where the
word "Wind" appears on the screen.
PLAY through until the lady says, "Oh, what a good idea!!! I'll
suggest that to the boys and girls reading my weather book!"
STOP the video.
Activity: Ask each cooperative group to take their weather vane kits (cardboard,
clay, spool, pencil, straw, straight pin, compass, etc.) and construct a
weather vane similar to the vane shown in the video.
Allow five minutes for construction, and a few minutes following, for students
to experiment with their new creations!
Explain to the students that in this next segment of video they will see
some wonderful examples showing how the constant movement and changes of
temperature in the air creates wind.
Students should focus on this next section of video, by being prepared to
discuss one of their favorite examples of "wind" they have just
RESUME video and play through until the lady says, "...that
movement results in wind!".
PAUSE video and allow a minute of discussion in cooperative groups
about the experiments that were shown in the previous segment.
During the cooperative group discussions...
*****(FAST FORWARD video to segment where a seeded dandelion is pictured
on the screen).
Encourage students to focus on this next segment of video by asking students
to take out their journals. On a blank page have them divide it into two
columns. Label the first column "Wind is good because...." Label
the second column "Wind is harmful because...." Explain to them
that while they view the next segment write down in the appropriate the
different aspects wind. They could also make small drawings. PLAY
through to the end of the tornado sequence. Review and discuss with the
students what they put in each column and why. Have them brainstorm any
other good or bad aspects of wind. This concludes the viewing portion of
Optional Viewing Activity
INSERT the "Windows on Science", Primary Science Vol. 2,Weather
Unit into the laservideo player. Go through the still pictures and video
in the "Uses of wind" section. Encourage students to focus on
this next segment of video by asking students to take out their journals.
On a blank page have them divide it into two columns. Label the first column
"Wind is good because...." Label the second column "Wind
is harmful because...." Explain to them that while they view the next
segment of pictures and video, write down in the appropriate columns the
different aspects of wind. They could also make small drawings.Upon completion
of the pictures and video, review/discuss with students what they put in
each column and why.
After viewing the video segments, explain to students that they
are going to experience some positive effects of wind.
Demonstrate these three activities.
*(Arrange for extra supervision if you choose to set these activities up
as learning centers!).
Activity #1: Pinwheel "Fan " Club (Pinwheels)
Provide a three-speed table fan, a pattern for a windmill (approximately
6x6), along with colorful wrapping or butcher paper (6x6), glue, a strong,
cardboard straw, and a small brad for each student.
Instruct students to make a simple pinwheel by folding the four right corners
into the center of the paper, then loosely fastening the newly-formed to
a sturdy cardboard strip or a dowel.
*Review fan safety with students, to insure no injuries, then ...Assign
a group leader to control the fan and turn it onto low speed.
Allow students to hold their pinwheels in front of the fan and see how fast
each pinwheel will twirl around. After a few seconds, ask the leader to
turn up the fan to the medium speed. Again, have the students hold their
pinwheels in front of the fan.
Invite them to discuss and compare the difference in rotation between the
two fan speeds.
After a few seconds of experimenting with the fan on medium speed, have
the group leader turn the fan to the highest speed.
Encourage students to compare how the various speeds of the fan, changed
the rotation of the student's pinwheels.
Activity #2: "My 'Air'ry-Go-Round! (Angel Chimes)
*(This activity should be closly supervised!!!)
Provide an angel chime (these are usually sold with Christmas decorations).
Ask students to predict what they think might happen when the candles are
lit on the base of the angel chime. Students should draw pictures of their
predictions in their journals and explain their predictions to the rest
of the group.
Encourage students to carefully observe what is taking place, then to explain
why they think the chimes are moving. Have students predict what they think
might happen when the candles are blown out, and why!!!
Activity #3: "Sock-it-to-Me!" (Windsocks)
Provide a variety of materials...ie; plastic bags, nylon stockings , old
(clean) socks, tissue paper, thin material, sacks, etc...for each cooperative
group, which can be designed into a windsock.
Allow groups to construct their windsocks so that both ends are equal in
diameter, and securely closed off one end by gluing, fusing, pinning, or
sewing. String or ribbon may be attached to the open end of each windsock
then secured to a dowel or ruler.
Invite students to hang their windsocks around the classroom, or if the
situation permits, allow students to display them around the schoolgrounds.
*(A fan or air conditioner should fulfill the purpose of simulating wind,
if it is impossible to post windsocks out-of-doors).
Instruct the students in designing a simple graph which will record the
direction of wind or air movement on a daily basis for one week.
Encourage students to compare and discuss their findings with the other
cooperative groups in the class.
Students will become more appreciative of air pressure and wind
if they are able to taken field trips and listen to classroom visitors who
are experts in this field of science.
A fun classroom excursion might be to arrange a visit to a local weather
station where a meteorologist could demonstrate instruments that help predict
and monitor the weather.
*(In some states, news stations are now setting up weather stations at various
school locations ("Weather Net") where students and teaching staff
can actually take part in forecasting the weather in their area!!!).
Another fun field trip might be to take the students to a cathedral, tabernacle,
or church where there is a pipe organ.
Arrange to meet an organist or an expert who knows the mechanics of the
organ. Request that your "guide" explain the history of the organ,
how the pipes are made, and how air pressure plays an important role in
the sound the organ pipes produce.
- Ask students to write a brief description to an alien from an "Airless"
planet explaining what "air is"!!!
- Review Eric Carle's book, "Brown Bear", then explain to the students
that they are going to write a classroom book entitled, "Blustery Wind".
It may be a good idea to practice the format orally before sending the students
back to their desks to write pages of the story on their own!
Blustery Wind, Blustery Wind,
What do you blow?
I blow a clothesline filled with clothes,
And toss them to and fro!
Bustery Wind, Blustery Wind,
What do you blow?
I blow a lady's red hat off,
And toss it to and fro!
Blustery Wind, Blustery Wind,
What do you blow?
I blow the leaves down off the trees,
And toss them to and fro!
Blustery Wind, Blustery Wind,
What do you blow?
I blow a "prickly" tumbleweed,
And toss it to and fro!
Provide a 9x12 sheet of art paper, one straw, and a baby food jar of brightly
colored tempera paint for each child.
Explain to the students that they will make "windy art prints"
by pouring a small amount of the paint on their sheet of art paper, and
then blowing through their straws to create a unique, visual effect!
Provide each student with three blacklined (ready-to-fill-in) calendar pages
for three months in a row.
Supply a "sample" calendar to each cooperative group, then ask
the students to keep an accurate record of the days (and force) the wind
blows, even if it is a light breeze.
Encourage students to "log" their data every day at the very same
time for three months in a row. (When students have a definite time and
place for an assignment, it soon becomes habit!!)
At the end of each month, ask students to transfer their information on
a graph of occurrence and force. [Students should write correlating dates
of the month at the bottom of the graph (horizontally) and a scale of force
beginning with zero at the bottom and working up to 20 for the most severe
gale winds (left-hand side of the paper, vertically)].
Ask students to make a graph at the end of each month for the next three
After the three months have been recorded on the calendar pages, ask students
to compile their data and to graph it onto a "composite" graph
for the entire class.
Have students join their three graphs together in consecutive order, then
proudly display these graphs around the room.
Compare, contrast, share, and discuss!
Divide the class into groups of four to six.
Explain to them that the movement of air and/or wind has always been very
fascinating to watch!
Ask each group to choreograph a dance or to compose a song or rap about
Encourage students to include a lot of rhythm and movement into their performance.
Allow a little time (about 10-15 minutes) for the groups to rehearse.
Invite another class in for a dance/music recital all about the wind!
Master Teachers: Carol Weibell and Rick Gaisford
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online