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Activity Number 13 - An Experiment

Purpose

To observe a tornado.

Materials

  • 2, 2-litre clear plastic soft drink bottles
  • water
  • food colouring (optional)
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • cloth or paper towels

Method

  1. Fill one of the bottles with water until it is half full. Add a few drops of food colouring to make the water more visible.
  2. Cut a piece of duct tape which is 5 centimetres long and cover the mouth of the bottle which contains the water.
  3. With the pencil, make a hole in the centre of the duct tape. Make sure that the hole is a little bigger than the pencil.
  4. Take the second bottle and turn it upside down on top of the bottle containing the water, so that the mouths of the bottles line up. With the cloth or paper towel, wipe any moisture from the necks of the 2 bottles.
  5. Cut more duct tape and wrap it around the necks of the bottles so they are firmly attached.
  6. Hold the 2 bottles by the neck; invert them so that the bottle containing the water is on top, and immediately start spinning them in circles.
  7. Put the bottles on the table, with the empty one on the bottom.
  8. Watch what happens.

Observations

The water takes on the shape of a funnel and looks like a tornado.

Conclusions

Tornadoes are fast, violent swirling winds. In this experiment, the spinning of the bottles caused the water to take the shape of a tornado. The hole in the bottle allowed for the appearance of the tornado's tail - the most dangerous part of the tornado.

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