Theme: Outdoor Classroom
Wondering About the Wind
Objective: Children will experiment with the wind’s effect on certain objects and understand that wind is moving air.
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What You Will Need
Note: This lesson requires taking the children outside on a windy day.
- Bins filled with various objects, such as ping pong balls, small rubber balls, crayons, blocks, marbles, and leaves – 1 bin per group
- Rocks – 1 per bin
- Chart paper
What To Do
- Display a feather, and ask the children what they could do to make it move.
- Ask them: If the feather were taken outside, is there something outside that could make it move (the wind)?
- Explain that even though we cannot see the wind, we can feel it because wind is moving air (see Did You Know?).
- Ask the children if they have seen the wind move anything else (trees, leaves, grass, birds, etc.).
- Display the objects in one of the bins, have the children identify each object, and write the name of the object on the chart paper.
- Have the children make predictions about whether the wind will be able to move each object.
- Record predictions on the chart paper.
- Tell the children that they will be going outside to experiment with the wind’s effect on the objects.
- Place children in small groups, and take them and the bins of objects outside.
- Allow the children to experiment with the objects in the wind (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
- Upon returning to the classroom, compare the children’s predictions with their results.
- Discuss the children’s discoveries (see Did You Know?).
Guiding Student Inquiry
- Tell me a way to make the feather move.
- Describe how the wind moved the ball/pencil/block/toy.
- Explain why the wind did not move the rock.
- Explain the difference between the things the wind moved and the things the wind did not move.
Explore, Extend & Integrate
- Have the children measure how far the wind was able to move each of the items. To measure, they can use lengths of string or a sheet of paper. Using a marker, draw a starting line on the sheet of paper, and be sure to place each object on the starting line. When the wind blows the object, mark where the object stopped. If you are using string, one child can hold the string where the object started and another child can cut the string where the object stopped. Children can compare the distances or the lengths of string.
- Have the children continue exploring the wind by making paper plate kites. Each child will need a 9" paper plate, crepe paper for streamers, and string or yarn. Have the children attach the streamers to the paper plate with cellophane tape. Use a hole punch to make 3 evenly spaced holes in the plates. Use the string or yarn to connect the holes, and tie it in a knot, with a length of string or yarn hanging. Let the children fly their kites on a windy day.
Check for Children’s Understanding
- Could children describe how to make a feather move?
- Could children explain that the wind blows to move objects?
- Could children describe the rock as being too heavy for the wind to move?
- Could children identify the weights of the objects as the reason why the wind could or could not move them?
Did You Know?
The wind is moving air. Wind is caused by changes in temperature in the environment. For example, on a warm day, the Sun is warming the Earth as well as the air. Warmer air weighs less than cooler air, and it rises. As the warm air rises, cooler air moves in to replace the warm air. This movement is what makes the wind blow.
The wind can be harmful or helpful. When the wind is gentle, it can help by keeping us cool, drying clothes outside, enabling us to fly kites or sail boats, and carrying bubbles. Strong winds can blow branches off trees, can knock things over, and can become tornadoes or hurricanes.
- wind – air as it moves over the surface of the Earth.
- feather – one of the soft and light parts of a bird that grows from the skin and covers the body.
- moving – changing place or position.
- object – anything that has shape or form and can be touched or seen.
- prediction – to say ahead of time that something will happen.
- discovery – something that has been found or seen.
- You could take the children outside to feel the wind. Have them close their eyes and describe what the wind feels like on their arms and legs.
- If it is not windy on the day you choose to do this experiment, fans or hair dryers could be used as a wind source.
- One Windy Wednesday (The Giggle Club) by Phyllis Root
- I Face the Wind (Science Play) by Vicki Cobb
- Whoosh Went the Wind! by Sally Derby
- The Wind Blew by Patricia Hutchins
- A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats
Content provided by:
Common Core State
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
Important Legal Disclosures & Information
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There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.