Jurassic Park

Twister (1996)

Concept featured in clip: Tornadoes
Location of clip: DVD: Chapter 29-30: 1:34:25 - 1:37:50

Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: This scene begins with the tornado tearing through the tractor sales lot and ends with the tornado shifting northeast as Jo and Bill are trying to escape.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: This clip is a good way to introduce students to the difficulty scientists face when trying to understand the inner workings of tornadoes.
Suggestions to teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. Why is it hard for scientists to study tornadoes in depth?

b. What are the balls inside "Dorothy" for?

c. Why do you think the machine is called Dorothy?

d. The scientists are very excited that they are "making history" with the successful launch of Dorothy. What do you think they mean about making history?

2. Dorothy is actually modeled after TOTO, the Totable Tornado Observatory. Have students research the history of making TOTO, the data TOTO has collected, and how that data has impacted scientists' understanding of how tornadoes work. Students can then compare the depiction of Dorothy in the movie to its real life counterpart.

3. Besides using machines like TOTO/Dorothy, have students look up other ways that meteorologists can study tornadoes. How do those methods compare to TOTO/Dorothy in terms of the ranges of data they can collect?