Lesson 1: Weather on the Farm


Activity 1: What Is a Tornado?

Materials: blue construction paper, crayons or colored pencils
Ask your child to describe a tornado and draw a picture of a tornado on a piece of blue construction paper. Then ask him to describe what kind of damage a tornado can cause. If your child is not familiar with tornadoes, read about them in a weather book or on the Internet. Ask your child to write three factual sentences about tornadoes beneath his picture. Discuss the difference between factual information and nonfactual information.

Activity 2: Tornado Alley

Materials: crayons or colored pencils, U.S. map
Explain to your child that Tornado Alley is the part of the United States that is the most likely to experience tornadoes. Give your child a U.S. map and then show him the map on the "Tornado Alley" page. Ask him to label the states that are shaded (parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas). Then he can color the shaded part red. Explain to him that this part of the U.S. is Tornado Alley. Encourage him to color Canada blue and the Gulf of Mexico green. Then encourage him to draw the Rocky Mountain range and Appalachian Mountain range on either side of Tornado Alley.

Explain that the land included in Tornado Alley is relatively flat, which allows cold, dry air from Canada to meet warm, moist tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. When this cold dry air meets the warm moist air, a tornado can form.

Talk about the location of your home in relation to Tornado Alley.
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