Inside the Tuscaloosa Twisters

As the nation mourns the many lives lost and altered by the recent supercell tornadoes, the NYT Learning Network and NOAA’s National Several Storms Laboratory are two excellent resources to help your students gain a better understanding of this deadly weather phenomenon.

The NYT Learning Network offers this comprehensive lesson plan entitled Inside Twisters that includes information on tornado basics, a warm-up slideshow for students to watch, discussion questions and a set of group activities. The lesson is correlated to McREL (and can be correlated to the new Common Core).  NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory also provides a wealth of resources and teaching aids including information on weather safety and weather careers.

Don’t forget to check out the MSP2 Resource Guide on Oceans, Climate and Weather, and the corresponding Weather student virtual learning experience on the SMARTR student site that includes videos, games and simulations on the topic.

3 thoughts on “Inside the Tuscaloosa Twisters

  1. NASA’s Earth Observatory regularly posts satellite imagery created by this data. The accompanying articles are usually written at a level that is complementary of middle grade use.
    Related to the “Inside the Tuscaloosa Twisters” article are two such articles and their accompanying imagery and resource links.

    The ASTER equipment on NASA’s TERRA satellite captured the path of destruction in Tuscaloosa, AL.
    ASTER combines infrared, red, and green wavelengths of light to make false-color images that distinguish between water and land. Water is blue. Buildings and paved surfaces are blue-gray. Vegetation is red. The tornado track appears as a beige stripe running diagonally through this image.

    ALI on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image of the tornado track through Tuscaloosa.

  2. Another great resource to add this discussion:

    The U.S. National Ocean Service recently formed a task force to study the trends and impacts of hurricanes on coastal regions. Now, through a problem-based learning module from NASA on the same topic, students in grades 5–12 can conduct their own research to explore the question, “Is global warming causing an increase in hurricane frequency and intensity?” and compile their findings into a presentation to share with classmates. The project develops students’ critical-thinking and data-analysis skills.

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