Are you planning on teaching your Pre-K students about tornadoes this year? If so, you’ll undoubtedly need to come up with a lesson plan. With that said, here are several ideas to help you complete the job:
Prepping for the Unit
Before kicking off the lesson, create an audio file that contains the sounds of tornadoes, tornado sirens, thunder and rain. There are several different websites that contain such files. Among them are Sound Bible and Astrosurf. You’ll also want to think about accumulating photos, videos, maps and the supplies needed to make a tornado in a bottle too.
Science and Geography
Start the lesson by playing the audio files and asking the children if they can identify the sounds. Continue by explaining what the noises are and passing around the photos. Then show the children a map of the United States and point out the jet streams as well as tornado alley.
From there, launch into how tornadoes are formed. The Education website contains a “How Tornadoes Form” worksheet that you may find helpful in that regard. It is designed for older students but may be used as a coloring sheet for younger ones. You may also want to conduct the tornado in a bottle science experiment. Instructions for completing the experiment are available through the NOAA website.
Continue by explaining the differences between a watch and a warning and how to respond in each situation. You’ll also want to discuss what the warning signs look like (i.e. green skies). The Pre-K that I use to work for would hold frequent foul weather drills too. It helped the children understand and practice what to do should the tornado sirens sound. You may want to consider doing the same.
Music and Rhyme
Proceed by teaching the children the “National Preparedness Month” song. Should you want one that is more specific, I would recommend utilizing Ron Brown’s song “Tornadoes.” A copy of the lyrics and an audio file are available through the Songs for Teaching website. Once you take a look at it you’ll see that the song’s lyrics touch on such things as the storm’s formation and warning signs.
Arts and Crafts
Next, lead the children over to your classroom’s arts and crafts area. Talk about the wind connected to tornadoes and let the kids create a few related art projects. One object to consider making is the homemade tornado machine. It is traditionally made with rubber bands, broken balloons and cardboard. Instructions for creating the machines are posted on the Kidz World website. The Tornado Chaser website also has several objects that you could make as well. Among them are a pinwheel, an anemometer and a wind direction indicator. When the children finish the projects, let them use the objects as part of a dramatic play session.
Source: Personal Experience
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