Air is all around us and one way we can tell it’s there is when the wind blows! We might not be able to see, smell, taste, or hear the air around us, but when the wind blows, we can definitely feel it. Explore below how to make your own weather vane to see what direction the wind is blowing.
- Clay or Play Dough
- Cardboard Square
- Construction Paper
- Coloring Supplies
- Pin or Paperclip
- Compass (optional)
1. First, go outside and make some observations about the weather. Is it cloudy? Sunny? Windy?
2. Use a compass – many phones have a compass app or you can look at a map – to figure out where North is. If you don’t have a compass, you can use the Sun. It always rises in the East and sets in the West. Remember where North is for later.
3. On your cardboard square, write the directions for North, East, South, and West.
4. Carefully, cut a slit into both ends of your straw. Make sure you don’t cut a piece off of the straw.
5. Cut a tail and arrow from your construction paper and slide them into the straw ends. Make sure that your tail is bigger than your arrow.
6. Place your clay into the center of your cardboard square and stick your pencil in the clay with the eraser side up. Make sure the pencil is able to stand with just the clay’s support.
7. Use your pin to poke through the center of the straw and into the eraser.
You want the straw to be able to spin easily.
8. Take your newly constructed weather vane outside and align your cardboard square with the directions you found earlier. Now, when the wind blows you can see what direction it is blowing!
What happens when the wind blows? The air that surrounds our planet is warmed by the Sun but it is not all warmed evenly. The molecules in colder air move slowly and cause the air to sit low to the ground, but the molecules in warmer air move fast and cause the air to rise (like steam coming off a pot of hot water). These different temperatures cause high pressure (cold) and low pressure (warm). When the pressures diffuse – or move to even out – and the cold air moves towards the warm air, that’s when we get wind!