Tornadoes in a Bottle – Discovery, Wonder and Science for All Ages

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

For this week’s Sick Science! Summer Camp, we put together a few new bottles and watched the vortex.

I have worked for Steve Spangler Science since my oldest child was 3 years old and before I had my second. They have grown up playing with science toys. One of the first science experiments that I brought home from work was the Tornado Tube.

The Tornado Tube is an incredibly simple toy, created by Craig Burnham. Fill one bottle 3/4 full of water and connect it along with a second to the tube. Spin the bottle around and start a tornado in a bottle. The hole between the bottles creates a vortex, like water down the drain in a tub. It’s a tornado vortex in your hand!

My girls have played with Tornado Tubes since they were tiny. We’ve always had at least one put together in our house at all times.

I put several together when my oldest was in kindergarten and brought them into her class. The kids couldn’t wait to play with them and get the water swirling.

After almost five years of being shared and used in classrooms, during science club and at our house, I finally had to retire my old bottles. They are always a hit from preschoolers on up through 6th graders. Kids can’t get enough. The Tornado Tube discovery bottles are also perfect for tiny toddler hands and minds, especially if you use smaller bottles.

For more on Tornado Tubes, where to get them, how to create them and use them to teach science, visit the Tornado Tube experiment page.

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