In this lesson plan, children explore the concepts of air and wind. First, children experience "wind" and describe their experience. Children connect their experiences to a video in which Curious George learns how wind moves things. Next, they participate in a hands-on activity to investigate whether wind can move various objects. As children go through the activity, they will be using these math, science, and engineering skills: counting; using nonstandard measurements; recording and comparing quantities using a bar graph; posing questions; planning and conducting investigations; sharing explanations; selecting and using appropriate tools; and choosing and modifying materials.
- Understand that wind can move things.
- Understand that wind is moving air.
- Understand that air is all around us.
- Understand that air takes up space.
- Electric fan (optional)
- Paper cups
- Plastic containers
- Different-sized balls
- Background photos/illustrations: leaves, hair, flag, paper, and/or clothes blowing in the wind
1. Experience the Wind!
Tell children that they are going to be learning about the wind—with the help of a curious monkey named George! Have children look out the window. Ask, Is the wind blowing? How do you know? Children can record the things they see being blown in the wind using pictures and/or words. Go outside to observe more closely or set up a fan in the classroom. Ask children to describe the experience (their hair is moving, their eyes are tearing, etc.).
2. Curious George and the Wind
- Tell students that they are going to watch a video in which George is curious about the way the wind moves things. Ask: On a windy day, what things do you see moving? What things don’t move? What kinds of things do you think move more easily? Make a list of things that move in the wind.
- Introduce the video by telling students that one day, Curious George decides to go outside to discover how wind moves things. Show the Curious George: Blowing in the Wind video. As children watch, have them name the things they see being moved by the wind.
- Focus attention on science content by asking: When Curious George opened his window, how did he know the wind was blowing? What did you see being blown by the wind?
3. Explore and Record
Have children select classroom objects to investigate which ones the wind will or will not move, just like George did. Add a few objects of your own: a paper cup, plastic containers without lids, large and small heavy balls.
Take the objects outdoors on a breezy day (or set up a fan in the classroom). Have children gently handle the objects, make predictions, and then experiment. Extend by asking students: Does changing the position of an object (placing it upside down, on its side) change the way it moves in the wind? Record the results of the experiments on a two-column chart titled “Which Objects Did the Wind Move?” You can attach, draw, or write the name of each object on the chart. (Some objects may appear in both columns.)
4. Reflect and Discuss
Stop when you have several objects in each column and ask: What do you think is similar about the objects in this column? What do you think is different about the objects in this column, and those in the other column? Which other objects do you think might move with the wind? Why do you think so? Children may draw the conclusion that the wind can move light objects but not heavy objects. This is a very good “first step” generalization. Help children deepen their understanding by drawing attention to heavier objects, such as a small plastic animal, that the wind does not move. Children may be able to draw the conclusion that both the weight and shape of an object affect whether it will be moved by the wind.
Tips for Success
Background photos help children make connections between the activity they are doing in the activity and phenomena in the natural world.
Extend with Books
- Curious George and the Kite by H. A. Rey (CGTV Reader): Curious George loves windy days. There are many things he can practice flying—like a kite! Learn with George about what the wind can do.
- Curious George Flies a Kite by H. A. Rey, Margaret Rey (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993): George has an adventure flying a kite—with bunnies, fishing poles, and one strong kite!