Today we are one of 50+ blogs hosting a fantastic 'Booking Across the USA' blog project!
Together, we will each feature a kids' book and activity for all of the 50 States -- you can travel across the country right from your own couch :-) This amazing idea was the creation of Growing Book by Book, a wonderful blog with great ideas for sharing books with kids.
Read and learn along with us as we criss-cross the country!
Welcome to Kansas!
The home of sunflowers, BBQ, wheat fields and tornadoes!
I'll bet that I can guess what book comes to mind when you hear the name 'Kansas' --
Is it the one that shares the adventures of Dorothy??!
I really think that book put Kansas on the map for kids literature. While we love Dorothy (along with the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and Toto) and highly recommend reading "The Wizard of Oz" to every child, we didn't choose Oz as our highlight book.
But we did choose to Make our own Tornadoes!
More about those in a sec -- first, I want to introduce you to our book.
The book The Bravest of Us All by Marsha Diane Arnold is a story of courage, especially knowing that each person has their own type of courage.
Ruby Jane knows that her oldest sister, Velma Jean, is the bravest of all the 7 kids in her family. She sees Velma Jean do all kinds of brave things on the farm. But when a tornado heads toward their farmhouse, Ruby Jane learns that her courage is help her sister is even stronger than the tornado's winds!
The illustrations in this book show the beauty of Kansas -- the wide open sky, the great expanses of land and the connection of family and community. I also love how the book highlights that each person is courageous no matter how big or small.
Create Your Own Tornado
Kansas is one of a handful of states that is located in 'Tornado Alley', a section in the middle of the US that's most likely to have a tornado occur.
A tornado is a storm that is created when a cold and warm front meet - when my kids were young, I would tell them that the hot air and cold air get into a scuffle about who's the strongest. There also needs to be moisture for a tornado to occur.
Tornadoes have a very well-known shape -- they look like a long, thin triangle balancing on it's tip. If you were able to view them from the sky, you would see that the center of the tornado appears hollow - this center area is called it's vortex. The vortex occurs when the winds are spinning very fast - so fast that nothing can stay in the middle, the force pulls it to the outer sides of the storm. These fast spinning winds are also what give the tornado it's nickname of 'twister'.
To make your own tornado, here's what you'll need:
- (2) 1 liter water or soda bottles (you can also use 2 liter bottles but I like the smaller ones because they are easier for the kids to hold)
- a washer
- blue food coloring
- duct tape
We found all the directions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. We decided to substitute blue food coloring for the dishwashing detergent and it worked great!
Once you have the bottles put together with all the water in the bottom bottle, just take hold of them and flip them upside down. As the water drains from the top bottle to the bottom, you will see a vortex form inside the water.
Here's a closer look at our vortex -
Pretty cool, huh! The kids will enjoy turning the bottles around a few times - it's easy to get mesmorized by the swirling water.
A few books that explain more about tornadoes and the science behind them include:
I hope you never have to experience a tornado; but if you do, remember to be brave like Ruby Jean!
We are covering all 50 States with some amazing books & projects! Browse the list below for your favorite states and enjoy 'booking across the USA'!
Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days
Arizona: Simply Kinder
Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas
Connecticut: The Teacher Park
Delaware: Mama Miss
Florida: Teaching Stars
Georgia: Fabulously First
Hawaii: Teaching With Style
Idaho: True Aim Education
Illinois: Growing Book by Book
Indiana: Teach Preschool
Kentucky: Chicken Babies
Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog
Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes
Massachusetts: Mama Smiles
Michigan: Play DrMom
Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory
Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk
Missouri- Ready. Set. Read!
Montana: The Honey Bunch
Nebraska: The Good Long Road
Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts
New Hampshire: Elementary Matters
New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing
New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
New York: What Do We Do All Day
North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog
North Dakota: ND HealthWorks
Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten
Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher
Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time
Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade
South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory
Tennessee: No Monkey Business
Utah: Teach Beside Me
Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog
Wisconsin: Reading Confetti
Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle