Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tornado Fun

Whatever happened to the cow that was lifted into the air by the tornado?
Udder disaster!

Now, tornado's are not so funny. They can really mess up your life. I know for a fact that many of our Science Labs have been completely turned upside down by the tornado drills that occur during lab. It is enough to send a teacher to the funny farm much less the students who miss getting to participate in all the lab experiments. But, a drill is nothing compared to the actual event. We found out that tornadoes occur in all 50 states and in every month of the year. Nobody is safe, ever! Here is a handy booklet that covers some very important facts about tornadoes. My students get to go to the treasure box when they complete the test at the end of the book. That is, if the tornado doesn't destroy it!!

We decided to make a tornado tube for each student out of 2 liter bottles. I purchased some really neat colored duct tape. Next, we filled the bottle 2/3 full with water that we colored with food coloring. A pinch of glitter added to the magical effect. Next year I might throw a plastic cow in there...We positioned a washer between the two bottles. I tried all kinds of washers - rubber washers, metal washers, and no washers. It made no difference. Some of the tubes leaked a small amount of water and some didn't. My son Nathan, is convinced that the tubes with no washers made the widest and coolest looking tornadoes. I'm not sure about all that. All I know is that I worked like crazy to stop the leaks and still had a few that wouldn't "behave". One thing I do know is that cold water in cold bottles produce more leaks and less interesting tornadoes.
I tried a rubber washer in this picture.
Then, I taped it real tight. It was amazing. No leaks. No dribbles. I took it to school in my cold car and guess what? Trickles of colored water coming down from the bottle. Oh my... I am tired of spills.

But it was all worth it. The students were amazed by their own personal tornadoes in a bottle. Here is my grandson Peter. His bottle NEVER leaked. It survived him and my gran daughter and NEVER once leaked. That is because we don't have white carpet. Only the bottles that went home to white carpets leaked (joke)... The children love these things. The parents can't wait till they disappear. Here is a suggestion I gave to one mom today. She wanted to "dispose" of the tornado but was afraid that her daughter would be horrified. I told her to just keep moving it closer to the garage each day. After about a month she could put it right next to the trash can and then sneak it into the can and her daughter would never notice! If you have a better way please post your comment.

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