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Weather experiment learning about wind direction

Posted at 5:54 AM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 09:02:16-04

GRAND RAPIDS — Recently we have had some very windy days, but do we always know which direction the wind is blowing? In today's weather experiment we are going to build a wind vane or weather vane to help use indicate wind direction. So lets get started!

What you need:
- Cardboard
- Markers
- Pencil
- Straw
- Construction paper
- Scissors
- Push pin
- Plate
- Ruler
- -Glue/tape

Step 1: Use the plate to trace a large circle on the piece of cardboard

Step 2: Cut out the large circle

Step 3: Use the ruler and draw lines on the circle to split it into forth squares.

Step 4: Label all the lines for each direction point such as north, south, east and west

Step 5: Cut out a small triangle and small rectangle from the construction paper

Step 6: On one end of the straw cut slits about a quarter of an inch down and then slide in the small triangle and secure it with glue or tape. Do the same with the small rectangle on the opposite end of the straw

Step 7: Take your push pin and tack it through the center of your straw and then onto the eraser of the pencil

Step 8: Push the pencil through the center of your large circle piece of cardboard

Step 9: Use a compass outside to place your wind vane in the correct direction and push the pencil in the ground or flowerpot. The higher the better!

Step 10: Start observing and have fun!

We just created a wind vane! It’s the device that measures the direction of the wind and it is typically combined with an anemometer which measures the speed at which the wind is blowing. Wind vanes are shaped with an arrow at one end to turn into the wind and the other end where we have a rectangle or a wider piece to catch the wind breeze.

Wind direction is from which the wind is blowing so when we say we have southwest winds at 10-15 mph we mean winds are coming out of the southwest at 10-15 mph. Of course the main purpose of the wind vane is to help us assess the weather patterns. Knowing which direction and speed the wind is coming from can help us forecast when storm patterns or even heat waves will happen.

If the wind vane changes from west to east this could be signal lower pressure overhead and storms on the horizon. Now if the winds shift from south to southwest this could indicate warmer air on the way. And if the wind vane is swinging all over the place that indicates the air mass is unstable and the weather conditions are changing.

There you have it! We made a wind vane! Send our meteorologist Candace Monacelli your pictures doing this experiments at home! She will feature future meteorologists on my Facebook page daily!