Weather vanes are instruments used to give us information about the wind. As wind blows, it moves the weather vane to reveal which direction the wind is coming from. Expensive weather vanes are not needed in order to get an accurate reading of wind direction. Children can make their own simple weather vanes at home and use the weather vanes to tell their parents which direction the wind, or developing storm, is coming from.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Manila file folder
- Metric ruler
- Straight pin
- Modelling compound
Draw a triangle on a manila file folder to represent the front of an arrow. Use a metric ruler to do this as the triangle must be 5cm in length. Then draw the tail of an arrow on the manila file folder that measures 7cm in length. Cut them out with a pair of scissors.
Lay a drinking straw flat on the table and cut a slit in each end. Insert the arrow in the left slit and the tail in the right slit. Pour a small amount of glue over the slits to secure everything in place.
Turn a pencil vertical so that the eraser is facing up. Line the middle of the straw up over the eraser. Stick a straight pin through the straw until it enters the eraser. Leave a space in between the bottom portion of the straw and the top portion of the eraser.
Mold a modelling compound (clay or Play Doh) to form a baseball mound. Push the pencil point in the centre of the mound. Check to see if the homemade weather vane is wobbly. If it is, add more modelling compound and work it around the base of the pencil.
Lay your homemade weather vane on a flat piece of wood and transport it outside. Use a compass to determine which direction is west, east, north and south and write them in the appropriate spots on the piece of wood. Watch as the wind blows the straw and note which direction the arrow is pointing.
Tips and warnings
- You can use a paper plate instead of a piece of wood, but the wood will be sturdier and less likely to blow over in a stronger wind.
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