Children can become a novice meteorologist by trying their hand at weather instrument projects. Between measuring wind speed, temperature, air pressure and the amount of rain that has fallen your child will be consumed with the fascinations of studying the weather. With a few necessary items your child can create his very own weather instruments.
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Measure wind speed by building your own anemometer. Using five little plastic cups, two straws, one pin and a pencil assemble your anemometer. Punch a hole near the top of four of the cups. Take the fifth cup and punch a hole in the bottom and four holes around the top of the rim. Insert the straw in the hole of one of the cups and staple the straw to the cup. Insert the other end of the straw through two holes in the fifth cups rim and move it to the centre of the straw. Continue the rest of the straw into the hole of another cup and staple it in place. Do the same process with the second straw and remaining two cups. Place a pin in the two straws where they cross then poke the end of the pin into the pencil's eraser. Measure the circumference of the circle created by the four cups and two straws. To find out the approximate speed of the wind on a given day, count the revolutions of the anemometer per minute and multiply this sum by the circumference of the circle.
Keep track of the amount of rain that falls in a given period by making your own rain gauge. Securely attach a ruler to the side of a glass jar. Create a rain chart by marking the days of the week and the volume of rainfall. Empty the jar each day so that the reading for the next rainy day is accurate. Measure the rainfall at the end of each day so that a small amount of the rainfall is not lost to evaporation.
Make your own barometer to measure air pressure on your own. Place a ruler inside a glass cup, touching the bottom, and attach a ruler to the inside of the cup. Take a plastic straw and attach it to the ruler an inch up from the bottom of the cup. Pour water into the cup so that it is half full. Chew a piece of gum until it is soft. Suck water halfway up the straw then plug up the top of the straw with the gum. Make a mark on the ruler at the current water level. Pay careful attention to the weather and mark the water level. the water level in the straw will rise when there is an increase in air pressure and fall when there is a decrease in air pressure. An increase in air pressure means clear weather is coming and a decrease in air pressure means clouds and precipitation are approaching.
Empty an 325ml plastic water bottle to begin your thermometer project. Pour two tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol into the plastic bottle. Put three drops of red food colouring into the water-alcohol solution. Place a straw in the bottle and hold it one inch from the bottom. Holding the straw in one hand, use the other hand to form the clay around the mouth of the bottle. Wrap your hands around the bottom of the bottle. The red water will rise as you warm the bottom of the bottle with your hands. Find the temperature of your home and mark the degrees on your thermometer where the red liquid has risen. Repeat this marking procedure outdoors on days when you know the temperature. After a period of a few days you will have a thermometer that will give temperature readings that you can measure with your marked straw.
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