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EASY TORNADO IN A JAR SCIENCE EXPERIMENT FOR KIDS

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A few summers ago, we did a fun challenge of 31 days of STEM activities for kids. Each day, we did a new activity related to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math. The first 10 days of the series are all about science experiments for kids. This tornado in a jar science experiment is so simple, but it’s a fun way to teach kids about how tornadoes form, vortexes, and centripetal force.

The best thing about this science experiment is that you can do it in a jar of any kind, and it’s incredibly classroom-friendly. If you have an extra five minutes, work this activity into your science lesson of the week.

This activity would go great in a weather thematic unit.  If you want more fun weather science experiments, try making a cloud in a jar, make a raining rainbow, or learn about types of clouds! It’s the perfect addition to your spring STEM activities!

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

This activity is one of our favorite technology activities for kids!

You’ll also want to check out the ultimate list of summer STEM activities and the ultimate list of summer science experiments. 

TORNADO IN A JAR SCIENCE EXPERIMENT

Visit the other posts in the 31 days of STEM activities for kids series!

spring stem challenges

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE TORNADO ACTIVITY FOR KIDS

A tornado (vortex) is formed in the center of a jar when you shake it up. This is due to centripetal force, which forces the water toward the center of the jar. The reason you can see it when you add dish soap is because the soap suds slightly, making the vortex more visible. The glitter is just for fun.

Real-life tornadoes, hurricanes, and waterspouts are all formed from centripetal force.

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

WHAT KIDS LEARN WITH THE TORNADO SCIENCE EXPERIMENT

With a tornado in a jar, kids can see how rotating air patterns can create tornado, just like their vortex in the jar. While completing this science activity, ask the kids how they think temperature helps create circular air patterns.

Challenge the kids to think of ways that they could prevent circular air patterns from forming. How do engineers prepare buildings to keep them stable during tornadoes?

elementary stem challenge cards

Use this science experiment worksheet to expand and record your tornado in a jar results.

If you’d like more simple science activities, try the color mixing flower, salt crystal feathers, the flower discovery table, or rainbow slime!

If you’re in a rush, these are our favorite weather science kits.

TORNADO IN A JAR STEAM EXTENSIONS

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

Use these STEAM extensions to make your tornado science fair project even more meaningful!

Science

Change the temperature of the water, add more glitter, and more dish soap. How does this affect how the tornado forms? Try other jar shapes, too!

Technology

Use a magnifying glass and examine the tornado. Can you see the eye of the storm?

Engineering

How do engineers make sure buildings won’t get torn down during a tornado?

Art

Place a piece of paper inside an empty jar along with a dab of paint and a marble. Shake the jar in a circular motion. You’ve made tornado art!

Math

Research how strong the wind has to be to make a tornado. How many tornadoes affect your country each year?

spring stem challenges

You may also like: Rainbow Science Experiments for Kids!

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE TORNADO IN A JAR EXPERIMENT

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through one of my links, I make a small commission. 

  • Mason jar (we used a tall one)
  • Dish soap
  • Glitter

 

1 - 32oz Regular Mouth Ball Canning Mason Jar (Pack Of 2)1 – 32oz Regular Mouth Ball Canning Mason Jar (Pack Of 2)Original Stationery Arts and Crafts Glitter Shake Jars, Extra Fine, 24 Multi color SetOriginal Stationery Arts and Crafts Glitter Shake Jars, Extra Fine, 24 Multi color SetDawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Original Scent, 2 count, 56 oz.Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Original Scent, 2 count, 56 oz.

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

HOW TO DO THE TORNADO IN A JAR SCIENCE EXPERIMENT

Today’s activity in how do you make a tornado is simple.  Learn about vortexes and centripetal force by making a tornado in a jar. We had a lot of fun with this STEM activity!

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

Don’t Miss: Wildflower Unit Study for Kids

SETTING UP THE TORNADO IN A JAR EXPERIMENT

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

Fill the jar mostly full of water. Drop no more than two drops of dish soap into the mixture.

Add a tiny sprinkle of glitter and close the lid.

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

Shake using a circular motion to reveal your tornado!

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

TORNADO IN A JAR SCIENCE EXPERIMENT RESULTS

Kids bored? Make them a tornado in a jar! This project is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force.

The first tornado we made did not work at all. I think we put too much glitter or possibly soap in it. When I reduced the glitter and soap amount, it turned into a perfect tornado. Monkey thought it was really neat to see a tornado vortex in a jar. She wants to keep it like a trophy in her room.

Learn about science with a tornado in a jar! This tornado in a jar lesson plan is so easy and an excellent way to learn about centripetal force and makes an excellent tornado science project. Use our tornado in a jar worksheet to complete the glitter tornado science activity! #stemactivities #scienceexperimentsforkids #science #stem

This experiment wasn’t as popular as the slime or cornstarch quicksand, but the girls still had fun with it. After the glitter settles, the jar still looks really pretty!

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