tornado lesson earth science kinder 1st weather Kansas

Tornado lesson



Right about the time I started planning our Kansas unit, I was searching the internet for what to do for our geography lessons and inadvertently stumbled into a cool science lesson. I saw this really cool idea over at Sewing School.  In her version, she supplied them with lots and lots of different building materials and they tried to stand up to the Big Bad Wolf.  But, that would be one of the differences between a public school (by the way wouldn’t you love her as your teacher?), and homeschooling.  That or I didn’t want to search for different building materials.  I knew Legos would stand up…….. Future Ticia 2024 says another time I would have given them more supplies to build with, but for this tornado lesson, I kept it simple.

tornado lesson

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Tornado lesson supplies

Future Ticia 2024 here, I’m realizing I could turn this into a whole unit with the various posts I have written, makes notes to go back and do that.

We read many books, so check out our Kansas Unit, again I should make an entire tornado booklist, and wow I need to update that post…

Our Tornado lesson

So, after reading all of our fun tornado books I set them out with toothpicks and large numbers of mini marshmallows to design a tornado-proof house.

building our toothpick houses for the tornado lesson

And they built

and built

and built.

Finally, I declared an end after 10 minutes.

testing our homes with a tornado

And then the mean old tornado (or hair dryer, might as well get used for something) came in and tried to blow over their houses.

They stayed up.  They swayed a little bit, but they stayed up.  At first, I made a video of it, but a video of some toothpicks doing nothing isn’t very exciting.

And then came the best part of all, eating the evidence.

Brief interlude for more weather ideas

We’ve actually had a fair amount of lessons for many different ages that are weather-related, and I think I might even have more tornado lessons somewhere, but for now I’ll stick to weather.

Except for Batman, who continued building, and then got his brother and sister in on the fun.

playing after the tornado lesson

Only until they realized he was not intending to eat his house.  Instead, he got out toys and started to play with them and the bad guys were attacking and it was a major battle going on for the marshmallow house.

playing more during tornado lesson

Can you see the epic battle going on there?


That did require larger font, and now I can’t get the rest to go back to normal.  Okay, I really could, but it’s not a choice on the drop-down menu and I don’t want to type it in.  So, you’ll have to live with .5 bigger than the rest for this ending paragraph.

And, I think that ends what I have to report for our Kansas studies.  I’ll write a wrap-up post for later this week.

will your house survive a tornado

Justin1569 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


13 responses to “Tornado lesson”

  1. oooh, fun building materials! marshmallows!

  2. Discovering Montessori Avatar
    Discovering Montessori

    I love this! I can also see the tornadoe as the big bad wolf. Very creative way to demonstrate tornadoes. Thank you for sharing.

  3. An Almost Unschooling Mom Avatar
    An Almost Unschooling Mom

    Glad to know I'm not the only one that has a hair dryer mainly as a school supply 🙂

  4. What an awesome idea. Leah's comment cracked me up. Hair dryers will make excellent tornadoes.

  5. Candace April Avatar
    Candace April

    I've been seeing the marshmallows on some of my favorite blogs–we have a bag of mini marshmallows and I just need the toothpicks!

    My activity is a little bit of a stretch for the theme…it is a geometry exercise, though, so I hope it fits!

  6. Nicole {tired, need sleep} Avatar
    Nicole {tired, need sleep}

    So much fun! We've done marshmallow and toothpick building before, but I love the added “tornado” to see how sturdy they were. We didn't need a hair dryer though – they fell over before Matthew was done building them. 🙂 We'll have to do this again some time!

  7. cool! I love sciencey stuff!!

  8. cool! I love sciencey stuff!!

  9. Very cool! I didn't even think of using a hair dryer as a tornado. When we studied Kansas, we made the tornado in a bottle.

  10. The Adventurer Avatar
    The Adventurer

    JUst added your button to my blog and joined in the fun. We are doing alot of space experiments at the moment.

  11. Love it and building with marshmallows is always fun.

    Blogger does that to me also. I generally type up the post and then go back and highlight the words I want to change so it doesn't affect the rest of my post. 🙂

  12. Such a cool idea! We do a lot of science over at our house, and now that I know you host a “meme” or “carnival” or whatever word you choose for yours, we will have to join in!

    LOVE the marshmellows as building blocks!

  13. MaryAnne Avatar

    This is a fantastic idea!

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