Thursday, January 30, 2014

You Say Tornaydo, I Say Tornawdo

Tornadoes caused quite a stir (get it?!) this past week.  The investigation stage prompted us to think of ways to create tornadoes in our own classroom.  I told the students I was bringing two experiments to the classroom, but I encouraged them to come up with other experiments that they wanted to try.  Here they are; 
Trapping heat, blowing cold- the kids thought that if they could trap the warm air from the vent and mix it with the fan, then they could form a funnel.  Sadly, this was not the case. 
Bubbles in a funnel- the kids thought that it would be cool to try and blow bubbles into a funnel while the fan blew through it.  The bubbles, they predicted, would swirl around like a tornado.  Not so much. 
Cups and a fan- the students thought that if we trapped cold and warm air in separate cups we could mix them together and create a tornado.  While they found this to be unsuccessful, they did hold on to the fact that we didn't know for sure because the cups weren't see through.  Smart kids.

Watching these experiments unfold was beyond cool.  Given all they had learned about tornadoes, you could see the students applying what they learned to make a tornado.  It also provoked critical thinking skills, especially when the experiments didn't work.  They kept coming up to me and saying "Mr. Kaegi, it's not working!" And I countered back with, "I never said it would!" And then a look of realization came over them as if to say, "Huh. Okay then."

Here are some other fantastic quotes overheard from the experiments;
  • "We can’t make a tornado because we need to be able to TRAP the warm air."
  • "That was an F4."  "No, no. That was an F3." (tornado rankings)
  • "I think that it’s not working because the hot air is leaking out the holes and it’s not being trapped." 
  • "I wish the cups were see through so we could be sure." 

See the fun for yourself (apologies on some of the audio)