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Don’t worry, this mini tornado is not powerful enough to blow you away. The swirling winds of a tornado are called a vertex. In this experiment, you can create a vortex that looks like a real tornado! The water in this experiment moves similarly to air in real life. 

Materials:

  • Water
  • A clear plastic bottle with a cap (about 8 oz)
  • Dish washing liquid 
  • Vinegar
  • Glitter (for fun)

Procedure:

  1. Fill the bottle three-quarters way with water. Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap and 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
  2. Add a few pinches of glitter inside of the bottle.
  3. Put the cap on tightly. 
  4. Twist the jar to swirl the water in a circular motion for a few seconds, until you see your mini tornado forming.
  5. If you are having difficult making your tornado by swirling the jar, use a butter knife to swirl the water around quickly. Make sure to have adult supervision.

So, how does it work?

When you spin the bottle in a circular motion, you create a water vortex that looks like a mini tornado. The water spins around the center of the vortex very quickly because of the centripetal force. This fancy term means that an inward force is directing the water towards the center of its circular path. Tornadoes and hurricanes are both examples of vortexes that we see in nature.  

Sources: JugglingwithKids

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