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Blown Away! Moving Air

Air is made of atoms and molecules just like everything else around us. When we feel air on our skin, we are feeling its atoms and molecules hitting us.

Wind is moving air. The faster the air molecules move, the stronger the wind or breeze we feel. You can create your own "wind" with fans.

In this activity, students explore how different objects move in the "wind" from an electric fan.

 The Air Up There printable guide.

This activity is a part of The Air Up There a unit made for Science World's Big Science for Little Hands program. They were developed and tested with Preschool and Kindergarten educators.

Objectives

  • Explore how different objects move in the wind from an electric fan.

  • Find similarities between things that move fast and things that move slowly (i.e. material, weight).

Materials

  • Per Class or Group:
    a medium-sized (or bigger!) electric fan (you may wish to use a couple of fans, especially with a larger class)
    a variety of objects to test in front of the fan: e.g. feathers, balloons, packing peanuts, crepe paper, leaves, etc.

Key Questions

  • Why do we use fans like this?
  • What do you see or feel that tells you the air is moving?
  • When it is windy outside, what do you notice?
  • What happens when we stand in front of the fan when it's on low speed, then on high speed?
  • What happens to your feather when you let go of it? How come?
  • Do some objects move faster than others? Farther? Discuss why this might happen.

What To Do

  1. Stand in front of the fan while it’s set on low speed, then turn up the speed.
  2. Hold a feather in front of the fan, then let it go!
  3. Repeat with the fan set on different speeds and with different objects

CAUTION: Always have adult supervision when students are using the fan. Be careful that students do not stick their fingers or other objects into the fan blades. You may wish to organize the students into groups and have them take turns.

Extensions

  • Try moving heavier objects with just an electric fan! Compare your results to the lighter objects used in this activity.
  • Go for a walk on a windy day. What things are being moved by the wind? Can you hear the wind? Can you tell which direction the wind is coming from?
  • Discuss weather vanes and windsocks, or make your own Windsock.
  • Make a wind chime or another item that makes sound when air moves it.
  • Investigate how the wind moves different types and shapes of seeds.
  • Make art with your breath! Try our Blow Painting activity from our Wet and Dry unit.

Other Resources

Science World | YouTube| Watch What Happens When You Bring Together a Baby, a Balloon, and a Fan (It’s Adorable!)