Tornadoes Teaching Box

Tornadoes, also called twisters, are rare and powerful weather events in which columns of air rotate dangerously fast. In this teaching box are resources to help students learn why and where tornadoes happen and how these weather events impact people’s lives.

Teaching Boxes are collections of classroom-ready and standards-aligned activities, content, and multimedia that build student understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math.

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Tornadoes, also called twisters, are rare and powerful weather events in which columns of air rotate dangerously fast. In this teaching box are resources to help students learn why and where tornadoes happen and how these weather events impact people’s lives.

Teaching Box Group

Overview

UCAR Center for Science Education Teaching Boxes are themed collections of classroom-ready educational resources to build student understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Resources highlighted within teaching boxes are from various science education programs and all have been vetted by the UCAR Center for Science Education team.

  • Topic: Tornadoes
  • Level: Middle and high school
  • How to use this resource: Each tab correlates with a part of the scope and sequence for this topic and includes links to hands-on activities, background content, and multimedia resources. Select resources within each tab that are best suited for your students to meet the learning goals. (There are often more resources linked within each section than you will need.)

How do they happen?

Goal: Students learn how tornadoes form and the atmospheric conditions that are conducive to tornadoes.

Activity: Students compare and contrast the types of tornadoes and how they form.

Standards:

  • NGSS Performance Expectations: MS-ESS2-5
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Models, Constructing Explanations
  • NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea: MS-ESS3.B: Natural Hazards
  • NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect, Patterns, Systems and System Models
  • CC.ELA/Literacy WHST.6-8.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content

Where do they happen?

Goal: Students will understand where tornadoes happen.

Activity: Students explore tornado data, including an interactive Story Map from Esri.

Standards:

  • NGSS Performance Expectations: MS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3-1.
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting Data (MS); Using Models, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (HS)
  • NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea: ESS3.B
  • NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns (MS), Cause and Effect (HS)
  • CC.ELA/Literacy WHST.6-8.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content 
  • CC.ELA/Literacy WHST.6-8.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources
  • CC.ELA/Literacy WHST.6-8.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question
  • CC.ELA/Literacy RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media to address a question or solve a problem
  • CC.ELA/Literacy RST.9-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events

How do they affect people?

Goal: Students will learn how tornadoes impact communities and develop a safety plan.

Activity: Students explore the impacts tornadoes have on communities, including an interactive Story Map from Esri, and develop a Public Service Announcement safety plan for tornadoes.

Standards:

  • NGSS Performance Expectations: MS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3-1, HS-ETS1-3
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting data (MS), Constructing explanations and desiging solutions (HS)
  • NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: ESS3.B, ETS1.B, ETS1.C
  • NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns (MS), Cause and Effect (HS)
  • CC ELA/Literacy RST.6-8.7 Integrate qualitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually
    CC ELA/LiteracyWHST.9-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts