In this lesson plan, children investigate how wind can move things. They begin to explore different ways to move air (such as blowing, waving, and fanning). Next, children explore different ways to make an index card move across a table. Children then work in groups to investigate how many breaths it takes to move various items across a floor or table. Finally, they watch a video in which George discovers that moving air from a fan can make bubbles, and then discuss what kinds of “breaths” work best. As children go through the activities, they will be using the following science skills: asking questions; testing and retesting; recording and sharing results; and identifying and describing sensory observations.
- Understand that wind can move things.
- Understand that wind is moving air.
Prep for Teachers
Please exercise caution in selecting the items for this lesson. Any known allergens or other items of sensitivity and/or dietary restriction should be avoided. Be sure to obtain permission beforehand from parents or guardians.
- Index cards
- How Many Breaths? handout
- Objects movable by blowing (e.g., feather, button, pencil, etc.)
- Bubble wands (different shapes) and bubble soap
1. Making Air Move
Invite children to demonstrate different ways that they can make air move and create a breeze (blowing, waving their hands, fanning the air with objects). Can they think of tools or machines—fans, hairdryers, pumps, etc.—that will make the air move? Suspend a balloon from a string and let children explore different ways to make the balloon move by causing the air to move.
2. Making Shapes Move
Give each child an index card. Let children explore different ways to make the card move across a table without touching it. Ask: What did you do to make a card move? What made it move the fastest or farthest? Why do you think that worked best? How do you think you could change the shape of the card so that it would move better? Have children change the shape of their card by folding down an edge, pleating it, scrunching it—and try it out.
Working in small groups, have children design an experiment to see which shapes moves the farthest with one gust of “wind.” They may need to come up with a way to measure the distance each shape travels, using nonstandard measurement. Gather the class together to demonstrate their discoveries and discuss why they think some card shapes move better than other card shapes.
3. How Many Breaths?
Have the class choose three items that they think they can move with their breath (for example, a feather, a button, a pencil). Together, draw the three items on the How Many Breaths? handout. Children will blow each item along the floor or table from a starting line to a finish line about six feet away, counting the number of breaths it takes for each item to travel that distance. Invite children to make predictions: Which objects do you think will move most easily? Do you think any will go up in the air? Why do you think so?
Have children work in groups to blow the first item across the floor or table. A partner can help count the breaths. Help children record their data on the bar graph. Repeat with the other items. When the investigation is finished, compare results. What did you discover? Were any of your predictions correct? Which item took the fewest number of breaths? Why do you think that item moved more easily than the others? Did anyone have a different result? Why do you think our results were different?
4. Blow bubbles.
Have children explore bubbles. Begin by showing the Curious George: Fan and Blow video. Ask, How did George make bubbles?
Then, have students blow their own soap bubbles using bubble wands of different shapes, Ask, What causes the bubbles to form? Have them discuss what kind of “breaths” work best. Ask, What happens when you make hard breaths? What happens when you make soft breaths? Why do you think this happens?
Health Note: Put a ring of masking tape around each straw near the top and have each child write his or her initials on the tape. This will help children keep track of their own straws and remind them to place the same end in their mouths.
Extend with Books
- Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon by H. A. Rey and Margaret Rey (HMH Books, 1998): George and the Man in the Yellow Hat stop to visit Mr. Rushmore. While in a hot air balloon, George gets a close-up view of the presidents.