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Where Does the Wind Come From?

Suggested Grades



Students will be introduced to the effects that heat has on creating wind.


  • lamp, with lampshade taken off
  • talcum powder
  • pencil
  • piece of paper
  • scissors


Part One

  • Turn on the lamp, and let it heat up a bit.
  • Sprinkle some talcum powder just above the bulb. What happens? What might be some reasons?
    (The heat from the light bulb warms the air around it. As the heat rises, it takes the talcum powder with it. In real life, as the sun heats the air just above it also heat up. This hot air expands and becomes lighter; that's why it rises. Cold air moves in the now warm air's place, and this movement of air is wind.)

Part Two

  • Cut a spiral out of the piece of paper
  • Carefully balance the spiral on the point of a pencil. Don't make a hole in the spiral.
  • Turn on the lamp, and let it heat up a bit.
  • Hold the pencil with the spiral just above the bulb. What happens? What are some reasons for this?
    (The spiral should spin because of the same reason that the talcum powder rose. The air around the bulb is heated and rises through the spiral, which causes it to spin.)