Lesson 5: Wild Weather


Reading and Questions
Materials: The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad
Have your child read the following pages in The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting before answering the questions:

— pp. 96-98 (covers thunderstorms)
— p. 102 (covers floods and drought)
— p. 104 (covers snowstorms)
— pp. 106-107 (covers tornadoes)
— p. 110 (covers hurricanes)
  1. What is the most common type of storm?
    Thunderstorms (or thunder-and-lightning storms)
  2. Have you ever had violent weather in your community? If so, explain.
    Answers will vary.
  3. What is the name for a heavy snowstorm with high winds and low temperatures?
    A blizzard
  4. Explain how a tornado forms.
    During a thunderstorm, rising air currents can form columns of air that begin rotating or spinning very quickly. A column that reaches the ground is called a tornado.
  5. What is the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane?
    Wind speed. (The winds in a tropical storm are 40-73 mph while a hurricane's winds are 74 mph or more.)

Activity 1: Tornadoes

Materials: empty 2-liter bottle, food coloring, glitter
Help your child follow the directions on the "Make Your Own Tornado" page to create a tornado.
Student Activity Page

Activity 2: Disastrous Weather

Materials: empty box or bag
Go online and look at pictures of the damage caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, or thunder-and-lightning storms. Two links are provided. Discuss how this type of weather can damage homes and trees and even cause people to lose their lives. Ask your child to think about what she would miss most if she lost her home due to dangerous weather. Pretend to create a care package for a child who has lost his home due to a tornado, flood, or hurricane. Give your child an empty box or bag to fill and then ask her to explain why she selected each item.
Web Link
Web Link

Activity 3: Safety Plan

Materials: The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad, crayons, markers, or colored pencils
Ask your child to read "Better Stay Tuned!" on p. 109 of The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting. Next, ask him to read the "Lightning Safety Rules" on p. 99 and then review the tips for tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes on the "Severe Weather Safety Rules" page. Discuss the difference between a flood and a flash flood. A flash flood occurs when heavy rains collect in a stream or river, turning a calm area into an instant rushing current. A flash flood occurs quickly and with little warning.

For this activity, review examples of dangerous weather that can occur in the region where you live. Ask your child to develop a safety plan specifically for her family in case of dangerous weather. Her plan should outline steps for the family to follow in case of dangerous weather. Let her decide which disaster would be most likely in her region of the country. She can illustrate or draw a symbol for each step of his plan.

For example, for a tornado safety plan, she might write, "Step 1: Go to the playroom in the basement." And she could draw a picture of stairs with an arrow pointing downward. Let her share the safety plan with the family. Then the family members can do a drill to practice what they would do if dangerous weather were to occur.
Student Activity Page