How to Find Wind Direction

Written by stephanie busby davis
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How to Find Wind Direction
Windvane (wind vane image by michele goglio from

Wind is formed by differences in temperature and is created by the movement of air from an area which has higher pressure to an area with lower pressure. One way to find wind direction is to create a simple wind vane from general household items, and then run a basic test for wind direction.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Compass
  • Construction paper
  • Sewing straight pin
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • New lead pencil (Sharpened)
  • Drinking straw
  • Paper plate
  • Modelling Clay

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  1. 1

    Cut out a triangle 5 centimetres long and a square 7 centimetres long from construction paper. The triangle will serve as the arrow-point on the wind vane, while the square will serve as the arrow-tail.

  2. 2

    Hold a plastic drinking straw vertically and make a 1-centimeter slit across the openings at both ends of the straw. Take the cut-out arrow point and arrow-tail and slide each of them into the slits at either end of the straw. Connected, this should look like an arrow.

  3. 3

    Lay the arrow across the flat portion of the pencil eraser, forming a "T" shape with the objects. Push a straight pin through the middle of the straw and into the eraser of the pencil to attach the objects to each other.

  4. 4

    Form a round and flattened ball with the modelling clay. This will be used as the base for your wind vane. Take the sharpened end of the pencil and drive it down into the modelling clay base.

  5. 5

    Mark the edges of a paper plate as north, south, east and west. Put the clay-base structure on the paper plate with the markings faced upward. Spin the arrow of the wind vane to make sure that it moves freely.

  6. 6

    Place the created wind vane on a flat surface outdoors where there is nothing to obstruct the wind. Take out a compass and note where each direction---north, south, east and west---is located. Arrange the paper plate base of the wind vane accordingly. When the wind blows, note the direction that the arrow points. This will be the wind direction.

Tips and warnings

  • If it is extremely windy, hold down the paper plate base of the wind vane.
  • Any type of strong, durable paper or poster board could be substituted for the construction paper in the creation of the wind vane.
  • You can also use a large yoghurt container as a substitute for the paper plate base.

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