Lesson 3: The Wind


Activity 1: Finding Wind

Materials: cardboard, paper clip, scrap of paper, small leaf, small stick
Give your child the following: small leaf, scrap of paper, paper clip, piece of cardboard, and a small stick. Let your child experiment with different ways to move the objects without touching them. She might blow on them, use a blow dryer, close a large book to create a small air current, or make a fan from paper and fan them. Encourage her to think of as many ways as possible to move the objects without touching them. Share some ideas she did not try and let her experiment with them. Ask her the following questions:
  • Which objects moved most easily? (the lighter objects)
  • Which objects were most challenging to move? (the heavier objects)
  • Which method moved the objects the farthest distance? (the one that moved the air the strongest)
  • Which method moved the objects the shortest distance or not at all? (the ones that moved the air the least)
Explain that wind, or air moving in the environment, can cause objects to move. The stronger the wind is blowing, the farther it can move objects. Also, it takes a very strong wind to move heavy objects. The wind during a hurricane or tornado can be strong enough to move a car and even a house.
Reading and Questions
Materials: The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad
In The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting, ask your child to read the following pages:

— p. 16 ("The Atmosphere: An Ocean of Air")
— p. 46 ("Wind: Always Stirring Things Up")
— p. 48 ("Ask Mark!")
— p. 58 ("Breeze or Gale?")

Then she should then answer the following questions.
  1. Why is it helpful for farmers and others to know the direction the wind is blowing?
    Winds from certain directions can indicate what kind of weather is coming (wind from the north can mean colder weather, for example).
  2. What is the name of the scale that is used to measure wind strength?
    The Beaufort scale is used to measure the strength of wind.
  3. Look at the descriptions on p. 58. What is the difference between a breeze and a gale?
    A breeze is a gentler, lower-speed wind. A gale is a stronger, more damaging wind.

Activity 2: The Wind

Materials: The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad, colored pencils or markers, compass, journal
Two of the most important things about wind are the following:
  • how fast it is blowing and
  • the direction it is blowing
Wind direction is measured using a weather vane/wind vane or a windsock. Wind speed is measured using an anemometer, and then it is compared to the Beaufort Scale.

Go outside with your child and help her determine the speed of the wind based on the descriptions on p. 58 of the book. Over the next five days, she can determine and record in her journal the speed of the wind (using the Beaufort Scale) based on the wind's effects. Encourage her to record the environmental clues she observes.

Read the paragraph on the top of p. 47 to your child and see if she can answer the two questions (answers are on the bottom right of the page). Tell her she will make a weather vane tomorrow. On the "Direction of Wind" page, your child can record the direction the wind is blowing from. You may need to use a compass to determine which direction is north. You should have your child stand facing north each day. (Once she makes her weather vane, she can use that to help determine wind direction.) She can also look at leaves in the trees. If the air is very slight, it may help to stick a wet finger in the air and see which side feels cooler. After she colors a strip on the wind rose, she may also want to record the wind direction beside wind speed in her journal. Encourage her to look for a pattern. If the wind usually comes from the same direction, it is called the prevailing wind.
Student Activity Page