Today, in sharing middle school hands-on science: extreme winds, I wanted to kick off our unit study with an easy hands-on activity and to use materials I already had in the house.
You know I told you we were using a free middle school earth science book.
Too, since I like to always flesh out what Tiny is studying about, I add in enrichment, which of course are our lapbooks or notebooking pages and add in some of my own hands-on activities too.
Wanting to expand more on Tiny’s study of the earth’s structures, we honed in on studying about extreme winds.
Look at this short list of supplies that you probably have around the house too that gives an easy visual about weird weather or extreme winds.
- shoe box
- plastic wrap
- 2 short candles if you have a regular shoebox or 2 taller candles if you have a taller shoe box like I had.
- sharp knife (to be used by mom or dad only)
Extreme Winds: Hands-on Activity
Start by gathering the supplies above.
I had a bigger shoe box, but a smaller shoe box works just as good. Depending on what kid of shoe box you have, either cut off the front or take off the lid.
If you have a normal size shoe box, turn it long way with the opening facing toward you.
Then cut 3 holes in it.
One hole is on the top (No. 1 on the right picture above) and one hole is on the inside bottom (No. 2 on the right picture above) and you cut them about 1/4 of the way over from the right edge and cut them about 2 inches wide.
You want them big enough for your candle to fit through.
Then cut a hole on the left side (No. 3 on the right picture above) about halfway about and about 2 inches wide as well.
Next, cover and seal the opening with plastic wrap.
Be sure to tape it real well so no air can escape, but be sure to not cover any of the holes.
Then light one candle and place the box hole on the bottom gently over the top of the lit candle.
*Be sure the flame does not touch anything.
Light the other candle and move it slowly over to the left side where the hole is.
Get the candle as close as you can to the hole without the flame touching the box.
Middle School Homeschool Science
Look at the picture above right where the flame on the left is already being pulled toward the right or toward the heat that was building up inside the box.
What causes the air to move and the wind to blow? The point is to notice the second candle. When it’s lit, the flame is straight up. But as you place it near the hole, it will move toward the hole.
When the first candle was lit, it heated up the inside. As the air was heated, it rose and of course became light.
When you blow out the second candle, the smoke moves in toward the hole, across the box and out the top. I didn’t put a picture of it because it was harder to capture the smoke, but be sure you watch which way the smoke goes after the candle is out on the left side.
So cooler air is also pulled in. Just like the sun’s rays heats the earth and water.
Warmer air starts to rise. Because some of the earth’s surface is more heated than others, like over a desert, then some of the air rises faster.
The Santa Ana, shamal and sirocca winds all form over deserts.
Also, look at this mini weather station.
Middle School Science Activities
Look at these various winds and their easy definitions:
- The Santa Ana winds in southern California are strong, hot winds that blow from the desert to Santa Ana Pass and out into San Pedro Channel beyond Los Angeles.
- The Shamal winds are summer winds that blow over Iraq and the Persian Gulf.
- The Sirocco winds are warm winds that blow over the Mediterranean Sea from the Sahara Desert.
- The Gregale wind is a strong and cold wind that blows from the northeast in the western and central Mediterranean area mostly in winter.
- Haboob is a strong wind that occurs primarily along the southern edges of the Sahara in Sudan and is associated with large sandstorms and dust storms.
- Matanuska is a strong, gusty, northeast wind which occasionally occurs during the winter in the vicinity of Palmer, Alaska.
Grab my free minibook on our newest unit study on the earth’s structure.
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