A tornado is a narrow vortex of rotating wind that forms between a thunderstorm and the ground. Usually, you cannot see them because wind is invisible to the eye until it picks up debris. With our activity, however, you’ll be able to see exactly what these funnel clouds look like when they form!
What you need:
- Narrow clear jar
- Dish soap
- Glitter (optional)
What you do:
First, fill the jar with water. Next, squeeze in a few drops of dish soap and a capful of vinegar. Add in glitter if you’d like, for extra sparkle! After you’ve added all of the necessary elements, close up the jar. To see the tornado form, swirl the jar or shake it side to side!
Questions to consider:
How do you think funnel clouds form in real life?
In what ways does that relate to our tornado jar?
Name a few ways it is different!
Why it works:
In nature, tornadoes are a result of warm air in the lower atmosphere meeting cold air in the upper atmosphere. This causes rapidly changing wind directions and increasing wind speed. When winds spin around one another, they form the funnel. With the tornado jar, we can simulate that spinning to form our own form funnel cloud!