Did you know that the word “tornado” comes from the Latin word tonare, meaning “to thunder”Yes, the Spanish developed the word into tornear which means to turn or twist. Basically, a tornado looks like a black large funnel formed from a rotating or twisting air. It is also called a twister or cyclone because it moves over the earth and whips back and forth like a tail. In this experiment, we will be able to understand how the tornado is formed and wil be able to see an actual tornado at a small scale.


How is a tornado formed?


As we can see the profile of a tornado, we can say that it is formed by a rapid twisting air.


  • two 2-litre transparent plastic drink bottles
  • water (with a little food colouring added)
  • paper towel
  • cardboard
  • scissors
  • tape


  1. Remove the labels and plastic rings from the necks of the two bottles.
  2. Fill one bottle 3/4 full with water.
  3. Dry the opening of the bottle with paper towel
  4. Cut a circle of cardboard as big around as the bottle’s opening.
  5. Cut a 1/4-inch hole in the center.
  6. Place the cardboard circle on top of your water bottle’s opening.
  7. Place the second bottle upside down on top of the 1st bottle.
  8. Check if both openings of the bottles are intact together.
  9. Carefully secure the bottles together with strong tape to prevent the bottles from leaking
  10. Hold the bottles upside down so that the bottle containing the water is on top.
  11. Observe what happens.
  12. Hold the lower bottle with one hand and the upper bottle with the other hand.
  13. While supporting the lower bottle, quickly move the top bottle in a circle.
  14. Let the bottles stand upright with the empty bottle underneath.
  15. Record your observations.


Basing on the experiment, the water inside the top bottle swirls, forming a funnel shape or vortex as it pours into the bottom bottle. The vortex created in the fluid is the same shape as that produced by a tornado.


It is true that a tornado is made up of rapid twisting air. As the water flows between the plastic bottles, it creates a whirlpool or a spiraling behavior and simulates the funnel shape or the vortex of a tornado.

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