The terrifying spectacle of very high winds is a relative rarity in the United Kingdom, but most children will have seen the effects of hurricanes on the Caribbean and east coast of the United States, so it is very topical.
Ask what experience children have of a windy day. What is the windiest day you can remember? What happened? (dustbin blown away, tiles dislodged from roof, tree uprooted?) What do you reckon the wind speed was? (a breeze under 10mph, flag flutters; a sudden gust 10-18mph, like running or cycling; a gale 30-60 mph, car speed, structural damage; a hurricane can be more than 100mph, massive devastation).
What causes hurricanes? (warm water evaporates and rises, low pressure beneath drags in surrounding air. (Remember Dorothy in 'The Wizzard of Oz' sucked up into the sky in her dream). Where are they found? (tropical areas, called "typhoons" in Pacific, "willy-willies" in Australia). What is the "eye of the storm" (the still bit at the centre, about 15 miles across, lowest recorded sea-level pressures on Earth). Where do they go? (some cross the Atlantic to the UK, where they become mere storms). Why are they given names? (to make them seem more friendly?) Writing
Write an eye-witness observation of a hurricane, make up a story about some children who find themselves caught up in one.
Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University