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During our weather unit, we decided to spend some time learning about extreme weather conditions. One type of extreme weather we learned about was hurricanes. (See my post reviewing books about all types of weather.)
So what is a hurricane? Unlike a tornado, hurricanes form over water, although they can move onto land. Hurricanes only occur in areas and during times of the year when the ocean temperature reaches at least 80 degrees F at the surface.
Hurricanes form when warm, moist air over the warm ocean water rises, creating a low pressure area near the surface of the water that is immediately replaced by cooler air. The new, cooler air that rushes in quickly warms up and then rises as well, creating another low pressure area where cooler air rushes in. If this cycle continues over and over, a hurricane may form.
We decided to model this process with a few materials we had at home.
Did you know that hurricanes are only called hurricanes in the North Atlantic region of the globe? In the Western Pacific region, hurricanes are called typhoons. And in the region between Australia and Africa, hurricanes are called cyclones.
Step 1: I drew a spiral on a sheet of paper and my kids cut it out.
Step 2: We attached a string to the center part of the spiral.
Step 3: We held just the string and allowed the spiral to open up.
Step 4: Note: This step requires adult supervision!
We removed the shade from one of our lamps and moved it near the stairs. We held the spiral above the light bulb. The light bulb gives off heat that causes the spiral to spin. This mimics the rising of warm air off the ocean, just like a hurricane.
See our hurricane in action in this short video clip (26 seconds).
Please excuse the shaky video – my son was holding the camera. 🙂
More weather resources
More weather posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Books about the weather
- Weather 3-part cards
- DIY weather station
- Water cycle demonstration
- Two ways to make a cloud in a jar
- Cloud classification activities
- Cloud classification craft
- Make it rain in a jar
- DIY weather vane
- Wind resistance experiment
- Make a tornado in a bottle
- Make a hurricane
- Printable weather Bingo game
- Printable weather I Spy game