How fast was the wind speed of Hurricane Harvey?

Grade level:  5th – 6th grades

Skills: Measurement (Speed)

Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas on August 25, 2017. It became one of the most destructive hurricanes that made landfall in the United States. Hurricanes are categorized into one of 5 classification based on a hurricane’s wind speed.  The table below shows the 5 categories and their potential damage caused by winds.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 10.26.01 AM

  1. Maximum wind speed in Harvey’s eyeball was measured 130 mph (miles per hour). Which category does Harvey belong to?
  2. How fast did winds in Harvey’s eyeball move per minute? Round the number to the nearest whole number.
  3. Hurricane Maria landed in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Maria made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. What kind of potential damage did Maria give to the houses and trees in Puerto Rico?

Sources: National Hurricane Center


Answer keys

  1. Category 4
  2. 130 ÷ 60 ≈ 2
  3. Potential damage to houses: Loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls                   Potential damage to most trees:  snapped or uprooted


Polar bears–A threatened Species

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 9.54.50 AMGrade level: 5th

Skills:  Measurement (Speed)

Related environmental issues:  Biodiversity & Deforestation

Area level: Global

Because of climate change, polar bears are losing their sea ice habitat in the Arctic. Polar bears are now in the list of threatened species under U.S. law as an animal to be protected. Polar bears are talented swimmers. Adult polar bears can swim for several days without stopping.

  1. It was recorded that a female polar bear swam 423 miles for nine days straight.  How many miles did the polar bear swim in a day on average?
  2. Polar bears can keep swimming at a pace of 6 miles per hour. If the female polar bear swam 423 miles at the pace of 6 miles per hour, how many hours and minutes did she take?

Source:  WWF & National Geographic

Note: The number 423 was changed from 426 to make this problem appropriate to the grade level.

Photo: WWF

Answer keys

  1. 47 miles (423 / 9=47)
  2. 70 hours and 30 minutes (423 / 6 = 70.5)