This simple tool shows wind direction using office supplies
Early weathermen and women didn't use Doppler radar or computers to forecast the weather, they relied on tools that were much more simple. Take, for instance, the weather vane. You have probably seen weather vanes atop barns, houses, or mailboxes and they are used to show wind direction. Even though weather vanes are usually made of welded metal, you can make an equally functional weather vane using supplies in your own home!
- Paper clips or thin wire
- Pencil with eraser
- Shallow flower pot or cup
- Plastic straw
- Index card
- Straight pin
- Red marker
- Dirt or rock salt
- Using the scissors, cut a 1″ (2.5 cm) slit in one end of a plastic straw.
- Trace a trapezoid (a triangle with the top cut off) on an index card and use the scissors to cut it out.
- Slide the smaller side of the trapezoid into the slit that you cut into one side of the straw and glue it in place.
- With a red marker, color the opposite end of the straw red.
- Insert a straight pin through the straw. The pin should be about 2″ (5 cm) from the trapezoid end of the straw.
- Push the pin into the eraser end of the pencil. Make sure that the straw can spin freely on the pin.
- Straighten four paper clips out and, at one end, shape them into the letters N, S, E, and W. These signify the four cardinal directions. Wrap each paper clip around the pencil about 1-2″ (2.5-5 cm) below the eraser and tape them in place.
- In a shallow flower pot or cup, hold the pencil so that it stands straight up. Fill the area around the pencil with dirt, rock salt, or another material similar to these items. You may need to ask a friend to help you with this step.
- Find a place with wind (or a fan if you don't feel like going outside) and set up your weather vane. Use a compass to make sure that your directional wires are properly set.
- What happens when the weather vane is hit by wind?
How Does It Work?
How Do I Use a Weather Vane?
- Northerly: cold weather
- Southerly: warm weather
- Easterly: precipitation
- Westerly: clearing
- Northerly: warm weather
- Southerly: cold weather
- Easterly: clearing
- Westerly: precipitation