Tornado in a Box

Elementary Earth Science and Weather Science Fair Project
Photo Source: | hardroadlilly

We were inspired by this Instagram picture taken by Lilly, a Canadian student teacher, to do a little digging on the topic of tornadoes. While we've heard about the tornado in a bottle, the concept of a tornado in a box was new to us and, after checking it out, we have to admit it's pretty cool! Great for upper elementary students interested in earth and environmental sciences, specifically weather and atmospheric phenomena, the tornado in a box offers a great visual aid demonstrating the power these natural disasters can wield.

To create your own tornado chamber, we suggest using these directions from The National Weather Service. Clear and concise, with great photos to go along with the written directions, the boxes constructed using these directions have been used in official public weather training programs and {if followed correctly, of course!} have been proven to work. Before putting the work into creating your own, if you want to see tornado chambers in action, check out these YouTube videos:

While the tornado chambers make great demonstrations, David Dewey, eighth grade participant in the 2012 California State Science Fair, hypothesized that along with the exhaust fan speed, the water temperature used would also affect the size of the tornado, and developed an experiment to test it. You can check out highlights of his project by reading his submission summary, and hopefully it will inspire project ideas of your own!