In this introductory lesson on tornadoes, I wanted my students to be able to understand how tornadoes are formed and how they are rated. I created a PowerPoint to use with this lesson because it helped keep my students engaged as well as allowed me to use pictures to help explain the concept and academic vocabulary. I used a picture to open the discussion and hook them.
Because I want to be able to touch upon my students' different learning styles, I created a PowerPoint, Twisters/Tornadoes. The Powerpoint helped me get the academic vocabulary across with the use of pictures, words and animation. I also had my students use a modified Frayer Vocabulary Model to help them make sense of the vocabulary. Drawing a picture of new vocabulary along with the explanation is a valuable tool in helping them "own" the word.
I felt that just giving my students a copy of the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and talking about what happens at each level, really would not help them truly comprehend how devastating each level can be. For this reason, I created a Fujita Scale Organizer where they have the definition, but now they have to draw what happens during each scale. Here are some examples of the completed scale, Student Notebook Fujita Scale Drawing, Student Sample 2 completed Fujita Scale. I've taught this lesson before, and I can see the difference now that they had to think of how to represent each scale. This also was able to be used as a scaffold to the next portion of the lesson, where they used an online tornado simulator and had to decide, based on their observations, which EF scale best represents what they see. I created an organizer, Tornado Simulation, in order for them to document their work. They could have completed the activity without it, but documenting their findings really added to our class discussion and wrap up as well as served as a clear cut demonstration of learning by applying what they had just learned. Take a look at their completed simulations, Student Completed Tornado Simulation, Student example 2 completed simulations.
The wrap up and discussion served as a way for my students to discuss what they had learned and gave them an opportunity to use the new academic vocabulary learned during this lesson. They loved using the simulator and they had a better understanding of how a tornado is formed, and the havoc they can wreak.