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Tornadoes: A Severe Weather and Natural Disasters Activity

With Scholastic's interactive activity, students get a comprehensive look at one of the scariest weather conditions.


3–5, 6–8

Activity Type

  • Computer Lab Activities

The Tornadoes learning activity — part of the Weather Watch: Severe Weather and Natural Disasters series — takes the mystery out of this notorious weather condition. Through engaging reading and interactive activities, students get a comprehensive look at tornadoes.

  • The Basics: Students read a brief definition of tornadoes and learn how three types of air to come together to form tornadoes.
  • In-Depth: A longer reading activity covers the following topics:
    • Where do tornadoes occur?
    • How are they measured? (Includes a chart that shares the typical damage sustained by tornadoes of varying severity)
    • How does the warning system work?
  • Experiments: An animated slideshow and text show students how to create their own “tornadoes.”
  • Witness Account: Students get a first-hand account by reading Tabatha Henry’s amazing story of survival and recovery from a storm that killed 36 people across five states. The 18-year-old lost her home to a tornado.
  • Words to Know: This interactive activity puts students’ tornado know-how to the test. They must read an article on tornadoes and fill in missing key words to complete sentences.
  • Experts Say: A lead forecaster with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, discusses how he “storm chases” and shares the biggest tornado he’s ever seen, the closest he’s ever been to one, how many he sees in a year, and why it seems like there’s more tornadoes today than in past years. Plus, tornado expert Gary Conte answers student questions, including how you can tell if a tornado is coming.
  • Be Ready!: What to do if you’re home, in a public place, in open country, or in a car during a tornado.
  • See a Tornado: Students get a closer look at tornadoes by exploring websites featuring photo galleries of tornadoes.

Susan Cheyney

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