Tornadoes FREE Unit Study

This week in our 10 Weeks of Summer Reading series we have a FREE Unit Study about Tornadoes. Learn about how tornadoes form, where and when they are most likely to occur, historic tornadoes, and storm chasers. Resources for learning basic first aid and making your own disaster plan are included!

Grab one or both of the books, sign-up to receive the FREE printable unit study and then explore the other resources below!  And if you like this unit study, check out our 30+ other FREE Unit Studies here.

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The Books about Tornadoes

The Tornadoes unit study is based upon the I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011 and Magic Tree House Twister on Tuesday. You may read one or both of these books.

I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011 is a historical fiction book that contains lots of true facts about the Joplin, Missouri tornado and tornadoes in general.  It is definitely a page turner and will keep your kids wanting to read.

The fictional Magic Tree House Twister on Tuesday is set in the 1870s in a one room school house on the prairie in the Midwest of the  United States.  Jack and Annie use their present day knowledge to help the students and teacher survive the tornado.

I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011 (I Survived #12) (12)
  • Tarshis, Lauren (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 08/25/2015 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Paperbacks (Publisher)
Twister on Tuesday (Magic Tree House, No. 23)
  • Osborne, Mary Pope (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 70 Pages - 03/27/2001 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

The Tornado FREE Printable Unit Study

The unit study includes the following:

Notebooking pages about tornadoes and life on the prairie in the late 1800s.

Notebooking pages about tornadoes.

A timeline activity to chart historic tornadoes.

A mapping activity to see where tornadoes are common in the United States.

Comparing and contrasting activity to compare tornadoes with other weather phenomena.

Sequencing activity to sequence the steps in the formation of a tornado.

Writing prompt to encourage children to write their own fictional story about escaping a tornado.

Printable notebooking pages about tornadoes including a Venn diagram and a map.

Receive access to download the Tornado printables as well as printables for 30+ other unit studies…

How Does a Tornado Form

In the printable unit study, we learn the five basic steps of how a tornado forms.  Here is a higher level explanation of how a tornado forms for those children that want the details!

Make Your Own Tornado

To see how the winds in a tornado move, you can make this super easy “tornado” in  a bottle.  It is really a waterspout, which is a tornado that forms over water!  Click here to watch the video instructions.

How to Predict the Weather

Predicting the weather is fun and helpful!  It is something that humans have been doing for thousands of years by observing the world around them.  While, scientists have now developed complex systems to predict the weather, there is still a lot average people can tell about the weather if they learn to look for signs around them.  Here is a good video to get you and your kids started!

Also, check out this post about how to identify what clouds are telling you about the weather with a notebooking page to draw and study clouds.

A fun, hands on activity is to make your own weather station.  This shows us how we can use the information around us to make weather predictions.  The National Ocean Service has instructions to make a thermometer, rain gauge, anemometer, wind vane and barometer:  Make Your Own Weather Station.  Once you’re on the site scroll down until you find the link to the instructions.

Learn about Tornado Storm Chasers

In I Survived the Joplin Tornado, the Dr. Gage character introduced us to storm chasers.  Storm chasers are people who travel to places with severe weather to take pictures of it and/or study it.  Some are amateurs and some are scientists.  If you want to learn more about storm chasing, you can check out the Storm Chasing with Dr. Reed Timmer channel on YouTube.

Make Your Own Disaster Preparation Plan

You may not have many tornadoes in your area, but you still may have some type of natural disaster that you should be prepared for. Discuss as a family what type of natural disasters could occur in your area and then head to to make a plan.

Graphic showing 12 steps to disaster planning

Have a child interested in engineering?  Learning how to build storm shelters and houses that can sustain high winds would be a fun project!  Here is a video about a how someone built a storm shelter in a home.

Learn about First Aid

Knowing how to do first aid is an important skill to have, especially during and after a severe weather event.  First aid allows someone to help a sick or injured person until medical professionals arrive.  Here are Six Rules to Teach Your Kids Now.  And, here is a video about how to help someone with a cut:

This first aid book is a great one to keep in your home:

The Kids' Guide to First Aid: All About Bruises, Burns, Stings, Sprains & Other Ouches (Williamson Kids Can! Series)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Gale, Karen Buhler (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 06/26/2024 (Publication Date) - Williamson Pub (Publisher)

Related Books:

Reading Twister on Tuesday made me think of the Little House on the Prairie Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

The Little House
  • Boxed Set
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 2784 Pages - 05/30/1994 (Publication Date) - Harper Trophy (Publisher)

And if your children love learning about weather, these are some great books:

National Geographic Kids Everything Weather: Facts, Photos, and Fun that Will Blow You Away
  • Furgang, Kathy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 03/27/2012 (Publication Date) - National Geographic Kids (Publisher)
The Everything KIDS' Weather Book: From Tornadoes to Snowstorms, Puzzles, Games, and Facts That Make Weather for Kids Fun! (Everything® Kids Series)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Snedeker, Joseph (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 10/18/2012 (Publication Date) - Everything (Publisher)


Related Resources:

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Amber

    You know Randi, I don’t think I’ve left a comment for you before but I just have to tell you how much I love your resources and how I appreciate all the time and effort you put into them. There’s not much that’s click and go in our home school, but whenever I see a resource from you, I know that’s just what I’ll enjoy. I have unsubscribed to almost all the sites I’ve joined in the last few years but I would never be so foolish as to do that with you – apart from having the best site name ever, you totally rock! THANK YOU!

    1. Randi Smith

      Thank you so much for your comments! So glad you find our resources helpful! 🙂

  2. Amy B

    I tried several different times/ways to print out the resources for the tornado study, and each time the pages printed out solid black. I tried with the Niagara Falls study with no issues. I would love to do this one with my girls, but the printables just aren’t cooperating… sad!

    1. Randi Smith

      Sorry you had trouble with this and glad we got it fixed! Still not sure why a couple people had problems while most didn’t, but remade the pdf so hopefully no one else will have any problems! I am sure it was frustrating.

Comments are closed.