Idea for Use in the Classroom

Scientific discoveries start with questions about things that happen in the world. As a class, have students describe Anton Seimon’s research and discoveries. Ask students, What does he still not know? We know a lot about tornadoes, but there is a lot more that we still do not know. Have students read a short encyclopedia article on tornadoes and the EF scale, Tornadoes and the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and then examine the Inside of a Tornado infographic.

Ask students to use the article and inforgraphic to make a list of what they notice and their questions about tornadoes. Have students call out a few of their questions while you write them on the board or on chart paper. Ask students, If you had information about all the tornadoes that have happened in the United States since 1980 in front of you, what questions would you want answered? Student questions may include the following:

  • Where do most of the EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes occur?
  • What time of year do most tornadoes happen?
  • What states were hit by the most tornadoes in the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s?

Add student responses to the original list.

In pairs or groups, have students identify a question they want to explore and can be answered using Twister Dashboard: Exploring Three Decades of Violent Storms. Have students collect the data they need to answer their question and practice interpreting and organizing the data in a table. Then have students make a poster displaying their data as a graph or chart to share with the class. Ask students, How can this data help people to prepare for future tornadoes?

Plural Noun

(singular: datum) information collected during a scientific study.

Enhanced Fujita Scale

scale that measures the intensity of tornadoes, from EF-0 (weakest) to EF-5 (strongest).


a violently rotating column of air that forms at the bottom of a cloud and touches the ground.