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During our weather unit, we learned how wind forms and how it is reported in the weather forecast. We also decided to build a homemade weather vane to learn about the wind and study how it blows at our home.
Note: You’ll find more weather-related activities on my Weather Unit Study page.
One thing we learned during our weather unit study was that wind reports always tell the direction that wind is coming from, not the direction it is going toward. This means that a weather report of “a northern wind” indicates that the wind is coming in from the north and heading toward the south.
This is just one tidbit of information we learned from reading the book Feel the Wind by Arthur Dorros.
So how do we know which way the wind is coming from? We can use a weather vane! A weather vane is an instrument that shows from which direction the wind is blowing. They are often placed on on top of buildings at the highest point.
To build our homemade weather vanes, we gathered the following materials:
- Pencil with eraser
- Two small pieces of cardstock (about 4″ by 4″)
From the two pieces of cardstock, the kids cut one square and one triangle.
The kids then stapled the square cardstock to one end of the straw and the triangle end of cardstock to the other end of the straw.
With the cardstock stapled in place, they used their finger as a fulcrum to find the balance point on the straw.
Having found the balance point, they pushed the pin through that part of the straw, and then inserted the pin into the eraser of the pencil. (Leave some room between the pencil and the top of the pin; if you push the pin in too far your weather vane won’t spin.)
We then labeled the cardinal directions on a paper plate. (Fortunately my kids remembered their lessons on cardinal directions.)
We used a compass to orient the paper plate the correct way. Then we stuck the pointed end of the pencil through the paper plate and into the ground.
From there, it was just a matter of watching how the wind blew the weather vane to know what direction the wind was coming from.
I love simple, hands-on science. Activities like this are easy, but they provide the best kind of learning. 🙂
More weather resources
More weather posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Books about the weather
- Weather 3-part cards
- Water cycle demonstration
- Two ways to make a cloud in a jar
- Cloud classification activities
- Cloud classification craft
- Make it rain in a jar
- DIY weather vane
- Wind resistance experiment
- Make a tornado in a bottle
- How do hurricanes form?
- Make a hurricane
- Printable weather Bingo game
- Printable weather I Spy game
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