Down here in the southern US, we hear a lot about hurricanes. Every year, there’s usually a hurricane or a tropical storm that comes relatively close to the southern East Coast and meteorologists spend a lot of time tracking them to see when or if they’ll make landfall.
This year, I thought I’d create a unit study for the kids that’s all about hurricanes! When I was a child, I was fascinated by them and it turns out that my kids are too!
Continue reading below to discover some great resources for a hurricane unit study!
What is a Hurricane?
Watch the following video with your kids and then answer the questions below:
1. Name the key traits of hurricanes. (Answers: They develop in warm areas over water. They can be enormous. They must have winds of at least 74 miles per hour.)
2. What is a storm that has winds less than 74 miles per hour called? (Answer: A tropical storm)
3. What is the main difference between hurricanes and tornados? (Answer: Hurricanes can last for a long time, while tornadoes last only a short time.)
4. What scientific principle explains how hurricanes get their energy? (Answer: Condensation)
5. What conditions are required for a hurricane to form? (Answers: Deep warm water, correct wind patterns, thunderstorms occurring off the coast of Africa)
6. When is the Atlantic hurricane season? (Answer: June 1 through November 30)
7. What is the difference between hurricanes north of the Equator and those south of the Equator? (Answer: Hurricanes above the Equator spin in a counter-clockwise direction. Those south of the Equator spin in a clockwise direction.)
8. How do scientists decide which names to use for hurricanes? (Answer: The World Meteorological Society keeps six lists of hurricane names that they use to name from each year.)
9. How does radar help to determine the location of hurricanes? (Answer: Radar stations send out radio waves that hit raindrops and then bounce back to the station, telling scientists the location of the raindrops within the storms.)
10. What kind of airplanes does the NOAA use to fly into hurricanes? (Answer: Large, heavy aircraft that can stand up to the high winds and rain inside of hurricanes better than jet aircraft.)
Activities for Learning about Hurricanes
1. Make a Hurricane in a Bowl: Inspiration Laboratories – This is a super simple way to show how hurricane winds rotate.
2. Coffee Can Condensation Experiment: Look! We’re Learning! – Show your kids condensation in action with this easy science experiment!
3. How to Use a Hurricane Tracking Map: Scholastic.com – Help children learn how to plot the movement of hurricanes on a map.
4. Hurricanes Lapbook: Look! We’re Learning! – Using a lapbook to learn about hurricanes is a fun way to get kids involved and to study the history of destructive Atlantic hurricanes.
Books about Hurricanes
Extend your unit with these informative kids’ books about hurricanes and storms!