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Weather Experiments

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My daughter has a science project at school coming up. She has always been interested with tornadoes. I am originally from Georgia so I know about them, but I am not real sure how to help make a tornado, do you have any advice? I know during weather school when I didn't work I tried to watch, but it has been a while.

Thanks, Sandra K


Science fair projects are challenging to come up with. There's a few great sites out there for educators and parents to learn science along with their children or to help build projects. Most of them aren't mainstream websites so it's hard to remember their names.

Yesterday, we were lucky enough here at KSL to visit this great Chemistry lecture on how to use toys creatively in chemistry, it will be online later today and I'll edit this later to put the direct link in. At anyrate, the teachers have a link to their science page with FREE experiments and lessons on them, the link is on the right.

Also Steve Spangler from 9 news Denver has an incredible website which has all of his experiments and directions on how to conduct them. He has some of the neatest experiments on there and a lot of them are very affordable with minimal supplies.

As far as the Tornado in Bottle goes, some people say you need to buy the Tornado Tube which you can get a learning store but duct tape works and you might have it laying around so save your pennies. Links to both methods are on the right. You can add food coloring and even some glitter to the water you put inside the soda bottles. You'll need 2 2-Liter bottles with the labels torn off. Of course, when you are done with you can recyle them :).

You can also try making a tornado with a dry ice experiment and a bathroom fan, this takes a lot more work and more money.

Some good questions to ask about when conducting a project on tornadoes would be. What makes the tornado spin? What makes it go faster or slower? How long does it take the water to drain (if you use the bottle method) if you don't or do spin the bottles? Why are tornadoes dangerous? How fast can the winds blow inside a tornado? And on and on, you can really do a lot with tornadoes and storm history too.

Good luck learning about these fierce beasts in weather, they are very interesting.

Answered by KSL Meteorologist Dina Freedman.

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