Grade Level: 3 Strand: Understanding Matter and Energy Topic

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Tornado in a Bottle

Grade Level: 3

Strand: Understanding Matter and Energy

Topic: Forces causing Movement

Specific Expectations: Describe how different forces (e.g., magnetism, muscular force, gravitational force, friction) applied to an object at rest can cause the object to start, stop, attract, repel, or change direction.

Materials Required:

- (2) 1 or 2 Litre clear pop bottles


-Bottle cap fastener (store bought at Creative Learning)

Options you may use:

-food colouring


-lantern oil

-duct tape
Procedure: easter science

-Take one of the bottles and fill it halfway with water. 

-Take the cap off of the other bottle and place it on top of the half-filled one so that the top of each bottle is touching one another. 

-Tape/attach with cap fastener the two bottles together in this position.  (Try to avoid caps between the bottles when taping to prevent leakage). 

-You might need quite a bit of tape.

-Once the two bottles are secure, they should look roughly like an hourglass.

-Now, hold the taped/attached section with one hand the bottom bottle that has the water with the other and turn the bottles over so that the one with the water is on top.

-Swirl the bottles a few times and a funnel should form.

And there you have it!  A tornado in a bottle.  But instead of air, we use water.
Scientific Explanation:

Swirling the water in the bottle while pouring it out causes the formation of a vortex. The vortex looks like a tornado in the bottle. The formation of the vortex makes it easier for air to come into the bottle and allows the water to pour out faster. If you look carefully, you will be able to see the hole in the middle of the vortex that allows the air to come up inside the bottle. If you do not swirl the water and just allow it to flow out on its own, then the air and water have to essentially take turns passing through the mouth of the bottle.

Vortex- A spiral motion of fluid within a limited area, especially a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center.

Opportunities and Other considerations:

-You can use Lantern oil, to show the separation of the water, and clearly identify the tornado

-You can use glitter or food colouring to also show the extent of the tornado in the bottle

-Make sure if using duct tape for the bottles, that no air or water can leak out in between where the bottles are attached.
Names of Presenters: Vanessa VanDorp and Sarah Patrizio
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