A World of Wind

Wind is everywhere!

Wind is everywhere! All over the world, wind is blowing—gently, strongly, wildly. Wind scatters dandelion fluff in spring and blows leaves from the trees in fall. It brings thunderstorms in summer and howling blizzards in winter. A brisk breeze can carry a kite high in the sky; a tornado can uproot trees and knock down buildings.

Wind is moving air.

But what, exactly, is wind? Wind is moving air. All over the world, air—the same air we breathe—is moving. We can't see it move, because air is invisible. But we know why it moves. It moves because of the Sun.

Here's how. Heat from the Sun warms our Earth. Sunlight warms the ground, oceans, and lakes, which then reflect warmth back into the air. When air is warm, it rises. As warm air rises, cooler, heavier air rushes in to take its place. That moving rush of air is wind.

Winds come from all directions.

Winds come from all directions. There are west winds and east winds, north winds and south winds. We name the winds according to what direction they come from. A north wind blows from the north towards the south. A west wind blows from the west to the east.

It's a wonderful world of wind!

Wind drives weather all around the world. It can be wild and wonderful and fierce. But wind can also be tamed to provide power for people. Windmills are machines that are operated by wind power. They have been used for hundreds of years in countries everywhere. Windmills can provide power to pump water for farm animals, or to grind wheat, corn, and other grains. Modern windmills are often called wind turbines. They can be used to make electricity. Because the world will never run out of wind, windmills are a good source of energy.

It's a wonderful world of wind!


Vocabulary

electricity:
Electricity is a kind of energy. It makes lamps light up. Electricity also makes refrigerators, computers, and many other things work.

predictable:
Something that is known about ahead of time.

thunderstorm:
A heavy storm with lightning and thunder.

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Activity

  1. Draw a picture of a house. In the yard, draw some trees and tall grass. Draw a flagpole and a flag next to the house. Draw this picture to show that no wind is blowing.
    [anno: Drawings should show a house, a few trees, tall grass, and a flag flying atop a flagpole. The flag should be hanging loosely from the flagpole. The trees and grass should be standing straight up.]
  2. Now draw the house, trees, grass, and flag again. This time, imagine that a strong wind is blowing. How do the trees, grass, and flag look if there is wind blowing?
    [anno: Drawings should show the same picture. In this picture, the trees and grass should be bent over a bit. The flag should be flying straight from the flagpole.]