6-8 > Weather
 Grade level: 6-8 Subject: Weather Duration: Two class periods
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Students will understand the following:
 1 A scale called the Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity rates wind-speed damage by tornadoes. 2 Engineers and architects can create tornado-proof designs for houses and other buildings. 3 By utilizing such designs, conditions can be made safer for people living in areas where tornadoes are frequent.

Either copy on the chalkboard or distribute to each student a copy of the Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity.
 • Research materials on tornado proofing buildings • Computer with Internet access

 Adaptations for Older Students:In addition to drawing and describing a tornado-proof building, each student could draw up an architect’s plan of his or her building.

1. Why would people choose to live in Tornado Alley? Would you choose to live there (if you don’t already)?
2. Do you think improved building codes would help lessen property loss during a tornado (see the Fujita Scale printed below)? What would you have to do to make a building “tornado proof”?
3. Would a ban on mobile homes in tornado-prone areas be a good idea or a bad one? Who would it affect and how?
4. Use the Fujita Scale printed below to determine what would happen to your community should an F-5 tornado go through the main business district in your community. Assume the tornado is moving at 60 mph and is on the ground for six minutes. The funnel is 1/8 mile across.

 Rating Wind Speed Damage F-1 73 - 112 mph Rips shingles off roofs; flips mobile homes. F-2 113 - 157 mph Upturns and flips boxcars. F-3 158 - 206 mph Exterior walls and roofs blown off homes. Metal buildings collapsed or severely damaged. Forests and farmland destroyed. F-4 207 - 260 mph Few walls left standing. Large concrete blocks launched far distances. F-5 261 - 318 mph Homes flattened with all debris removed. Schools, motels, and other larger structures damaged considerably with exterior walls and roofs gone. Top floors demolished.

 You can evaluate your students on their paragraphs using the following three-point rubric: Three points:building precisely described; tornado-proof features clearly explained; paragraph error-free   Two points:building adequately described; explanation of tornado-proof features lacking in clarity; some errors   One point:description vague; explanation lacking in clarity; numerous errors  You can ask your students to contribute to the assessment rubric by determining what type of information should be included in the descriptions of the buildings.

 What to Do Divide the class into groups of three students each. Ask groups to imagine that they are safety engineers who have been asked to do consulting work for the town council of a small city in Tornado Alley (the area of high tornado frequency stretching from west Texas to the Dakotas). Have each group prepare a report listing simple steps people could take to lessen the damage caused by small flying objects during a tornado. Invite the groups to present their reports to the “council” (the class). Encourage students to listen carefully to the presentations and list the precautionary measures they consider the best. What If . . . ? Have students do research on the Internet and use the Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity to determine what would happen to their community should an F-5 tornado go through the main business district. They should assume the funnel of the tornado is 1/8 mile across, the tornado is moving at 60 miles per hour, and it is on the ground for six minutes.

 Caught in the Path: The Fury of a Tornado, the Rebirth of a Community Carolyn Glenn Brewer [editor, interview compiler], Prairie Fugue Books, 1997This compilation of oral histories captures the individual and collective experiences of members of one Kansas community who survived The Ruskin Heights Tornado of 1957. In the Shadow of the Tornado: Stories and Adventures from the Heart of Storm Country Richard Bedard, Gilco Publishers, 1996This is a popular treatment of the experience of Oklahomans with tornadoes. Appropriate for young adult readers. Twister: The Science of Tornadoes and the Making of an Adventure Movie Keay Davidson, Pocket Books, 1996This work presents a case study of the special problems of capturing and documenting dangerous weather phenomena for a commercially released major motion picture.