How to make a goal thermometer

Written by pamela cherry
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How to make a goal thermometer
Make a goal thermometer (thermometer image by Oleg Verbitsky from

If you want to reach your goals, use a goal-tracking thermometer to measure your progress. A goal thermometer provides a visual showing exactly how much progress you have made toward your goal. Goal thermometers work best for numeric goals such as raising money or collecting items. They also help keep everyone involved in the project motivated and excited.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • White poster board
  • Black marker
  • Red marker
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Use a thick black marker to draw a thermometer on the poster board. Make the thermometer look like a real mercury thermometer with a large bulb at the bottom.

  2. 2

    Write the numeric goal at the top of the thermometer.

  3. 3

    Divide the total height of your thermometer column by 10 to determine where to draw the achievement lines on your thermometer. For example, if your thermometer column is 48 inches tall, draw the first line above the thermometer bulb and draw another line every 4.8 inches until you reach the final goal line at the top of the thermometer. This makes your achievement lines evenly distributed on the thermometer column.

  4. 4

    Draw 10 achievement lines on the thermometer column with a thick, black marker. Use a ruler to make sure the lines are straight.

  5. 5

    Write numbers next to each of the 10 achievement lines to show progress toward the goal. Divide your goal by 10 and put these numbers next to the achievement lines with the lowest number starting on the line by the thermometer bulb, at the bottom.

  6. 6

    Draw four smaller lines between the large achievement lines to give the look of a real thermometer and to mark smaller steps toward the goal. Do not put numeric values next to the small achievement lines.

  7. 7

    Use a bright-coloured marker such as red to fill in your goal thermometer to show current progress toward achieving your goal.

Tips and warnings

  • Update your goal thermometer often.
  • Display the goal thermometer in a prominent place so everyone involved in the project and all potential donors can readily see progress toward the goal.

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