For those of you who live in the Midwest you know we are now in Tornado Season. I don’t particularly like tornado’s they pretty much just freak me out. I have never seen one nor do I ever want to (well outside of this Tornado in a Bottle experiment that is).
Each year since we moved here we have had to spend a night in the basement because of the possibility of tornado’s. My oldest daughter is pretty curious about things right now and asks a TON of questions (I guess that is normal for a 5 year old). So I thought this would be a great experiment to show her what a tornado was and for us to talk about it a little before we start practicing our tornado drills (hey you can never be too prepared).
Both girls thought our vortex was really cool, and we of course had to do this about 500 times over several days because they liked it so much. The good news is you can keep your bottle around and just keep making vortex’s for days maybe even weeks if you want too. And if you live in an area where you have a lot of tornado’s this is a great way to open up the topic with the kids and answer any questions they may have.
What is happening with this experiment? When you shake/spin the bottle the circular motion causes a vortex that looks like a tornado. This is happening due to centripetal force. Centripetal force is an inward force directing the fluid towards the center of its circular path. Natural Vortex’s are Tornado’s, Water Spouts, Whirlpools and Hurricanes.
Don’t forget to check out some of our other Weather Experiments!
Round Bottle (we used a Snapple bottle)