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Summer of Science: Make a Tornado


summer of science

It never fails, what should be the most fun experiments tend to go wrong.  No worries, we still had a great time recreating our own little tornados with two empty drink bottles, colored water, and nearly half a roll of electrical tape.

 

Supplies

supplies for science experiments

  • Two empty, clear, plastic bottles
  • Duct tape, or if you’re in a pinch and don’t understand your husband’s organization method use the only kind of tape you could fine…electrical in my case.
  • scissors
  • water
  • food coloring

Directions

Start off by filling one bottle with water, about a forth of the way full.  Next, add food coloring, we chose blue.  Tape this bottle completely closed and using the scissors punch a hole in the center of the tape.  (Here’s where duct tape would’ve worked better, it was hard to get our hole large enough without demolishing it.) 

Summer of Sciencescience experiment

Line the mouths of both bottles up and secure them together with the tape.

tornado creation

Flip the bottle over and quickly swirl the water inside.  After it really gets going set the bottle on the table with the empty bottle on the bottom.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get any good shots of the water spinning and creating a funnel, that darn hole size was messing that up too.  You can see the remnants of one in the picture below but since the hole wasn’t big enough for the water to pass through the funnel would quickly dissipate.  So take note, the water has to be able to move freely from one bottle to the other.

creating a tornado

Explanation:  The funnel created in our bottles is much like the tail of a tornado. When cool dry air from the west comes into contact with warm, moist air moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, the warm air rushes up causing winds to rotate often violently. 

I hope you’re enjoying this Summer of Science series, Subscribe to have next weeks experiments delivered to your inbox.

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Erin Sipes
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