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Tornadoes Theme Page

Below are the CLN "Theme Pages" which supplement the study of tornadoes. CLN's theme pages are collections of useful Internet educational resources within a narrow curricular topic and contain links to two types of information. Students and teachers will find curricular resources (information, content...) to help them learn about this topic. In addition, there are links to instructional materials (lesson plans) which will help teachers provide instruction in this theme.

Natural Disasters

General Tornadoes Resources

Here are a number of links to other Internet resources which contain information and/or other links related to tornadoes. Please read our disclaimer.

(A) Comprehensive Glossary of Weather Terms for Storm Spotters
This glossary contains weather-related terms that may be either heard or used by severe local storm spotters or spotter groups.

EarthWatch Weather On Demand
A graphic intensive site showing satellite and radar weather pictures for North America. At this page, you can choose detailed, current weather images of Canada. The StormWatch button at the top of the page is for the US only.

[The] Fujita Scale
"The Fujita Scale (also known as the Fujita-Pearson Scale) is used to rate the intensity of a tornado by examining the damage caused by the tornado after it has passed over a man-made structure." The page also has many links to tornado resources.

[The] Heat is On! Creating Weather Emergency Guides in the Science Classroom
In this lesson plan, grade 6-12 students research severe weather conditions common to their geographic location and create weather emergency guides for extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes, floods, blizzards, thunderstorms and hurricanes. They use a New York Times article as a starting point for their explorations.

Kansas Tornado Chasers
The purpose of this site is to educate the public, spotters, and chasers of the subject of tornadoes. The site includes tornado history, photos, videos, forecasts, nowcasts, preparation, and much more. Check out their kidspage and safety links.

Severe Weather Related Sites
A meta-list of sites related to severe weather.

Part of Scientific American's site, this page has descriptive information about Supercells, Tornado Chasing, Signature of a Vortex, Spinning Up, and Touchdown.

This instructional unit is part of the "Science With OAR" web site developed by the University of South Alabama. It consists of explanatory sections on tornadoes, student activity assignments, and links to other external tornado sites where students can collect the data to answer the questions.

Tornadoes: Going Around in Circles
Sponsored by the National Institute for Science Education, this site provides answers the following questions: What are tornadoes?; Where does a twister get all that energy?; How to protect yourself when a tornado is close?; and How does a twister affect the natural landscape? Get the answers to these questions, then take the "twisted test".

Tornado in a Bottle
A lesson plan for grades 3-5 that lets them create a vortex in a bottle.

Tornado Information Index
A meta-list of sites from USA Today. It has links to resources on tornado safety, tornado science, tornado research, tornado chasing and more....

(The) Tornado Project On-line
A page of resources from a small group who collects, compiles and makes tornado information available. This site specializes in tornado myth, tornado oddities, personal experiences, tornado chasing, tornado safety, and tornadoes from the past.

Tornado Trailhead
This is the starting point for a virtual field trip on tornadoes from Tramline. Experts in the subject have selected a number of web sites on tornadoes and arranged them in a sequence to tell a story for students to follow. Students can move from one web stop in the field trip to the next with ample opportunity to explore within the individual web site as they wish. However, since their web browser page has been split into an inner part (showing that stop in the field trip) and an outer part (giving navigational tools to go through the entire field trip), they can always return to their "tram" and go to the next stop. To be effective, teachers would have to ensure that student browsing through the field trip sites was purposeful. Teacher guides can be printed.

[The] TORRO Tornado Intensity Scale
This Scale is used to categorize windspeeds in tornadoes. From the following list, learn about the criteria used to rate the tornado's windspeed: viewing the damage caused, engineering analysis of the damage caused, Doppler radar, photogrammetric analysis, and direct measurement.

TrackStar is an online interface which allows instructors to create lessons for students by sequencing existing instructional content in various web sites within a lesson. Students explore one topic at a particular location within one web site then move on to the next topic at another web site. The list of topics remains visible throughout the lesson so that students can remain on track. Explorations of the web sites beyond the designated instructional content are also possible.

This link is to their search page from where a keyword search on "tornadoes" will produce numerous hits. Caution #1: Many of the web sites that these lessons access may already be on this CLN page - it's the creation of lesson objectives and the sequencing of the tours through the sites that make the lesson potentially useful to your students. Caution #2: The quality of the lessons (e.g., definining objectives, finding web sites, sequencing the tours) will vary widely within the TrackStar collection.

Grades 4-10 lesson plan using 2 - 2 litre bottles to create a tornado in a bottle.

Vortex: Unraveling the Secrets
The story of an expanding tornado and its resulting consequences are set in a story plot similar to a mystery novel. The authors begin the mystery with a description of some of the events and facts. Then they lead the reader through information that helps them understand and possibly solve why the tornado occurred. There are two versions available, Java enhanced (slow downloading) and low band width.

(The) Weather Unit
A weather unit complete with many primary class lesson plans integrated into all subjects areas.

What is a Tornado?
A detailed essay describing various characteristics of tornadoes with accompanying photos. Part of its purpose is to dispell misconceptions about tornadoes.

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Note: The sites listed above will serve as a source of curricular content in Tornadoes. For other resources in Weather (e.g., curricular content), or for lesson plans and theme pages, click the "previous screen" button below. Or, click here if you wish to return directly to the CLN menu which will give you access to educational resources in all of our subjects.

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