Lesson 3: The Tornado

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How does the environment affect living things?
  • What makes an environment safe or unsafe?
  • How does the weather affect people, plants, and animals?

Facts and Definitions

  • Word choice is an element of writing that includes choosing interesting and descriptive words to make the writing more engaging and exciting.


  • Draw and discuss visual images based on text description. (LA)
  • Produce a summary of a text. (LA)
  • Write to communicate with an audience. (LA)
  • Examine author's decisions and word choice. (LA)


  • Tornado by Betsy Byars, Doron Ben-Ami
  • crayons or colored pencils
  • journal


Tell your child that today in the book, Pete will describe a time a tornado hit his house. After the tornado, he will discover something very special.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Tornado by Betsy Byars, Doron Ben-Ami
Ask your child to listen as you read Chapter 2 aloud to him, and then ask him to verbally summarize the chapter. You can use the following questions for further discussion, as needed.
  1. What does Pete's mom mean when she says, "I smell a storm."?
    Explain to your child that often before a big storm the air can feel and even smell different.
  2. How was the tornado at Pete's house different from the tornado in the first chapter?
    There was no warning or funnel cloud.
  3. Describe the yard after the tornado.
    All of the trees were destroyed and the yard was littered with other people's things, like a doghouse, a clothesline, and a bicycle.
  4. What is Pete most surprised to find in the yard after the tornado?
    Pete finds a dog in the doghouse.
  5. How do you think the dog felt after the tornado?
    Answers will vary.