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Updrafts in Action

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Updrafts in Action

In this weather activity/demonstration, learners watch as a ping pong ball is suspended in a stream of air supplied by a hair dryer. This demonstration of the Bernoulli Principle models how updrafts (wind) supports hail and rain in clouds during storms. The discussion portion of this resource explains the science behind this phenomenon as well as how and why the National Weather Service issues thunderstorm and tornado watches. Thunderstorm safety rules are also included in this resource.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Hand-held hair dryer
  • At least 2 ping pong balls


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, National Weather Service,


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