Make Your Own Wind Vane

Make Your Own Wind Vane
Before You Start...

A weather vane is also called a wind vane. It is a tool for measuring wind direction. It spins on a rod and points in the direction from which the wind comes.

The weather vane is one of the oldest weather tools. The part of the vane that turns into the wind is usually shaped like an arrow. The other end is wide so it will catch the smallest breeze. The breeze turns the arrow until it catches both sides of the wide end equally. The arrow always points into the wind. The arrow tells you the direction from which the wind is coming.

What you will need:

  • paper and pencil
  • scissors
  • cardboard
  • compass
  • plastic soft drink bottle
  • plastic drinking straw
  • shallow pan filled with rocks
  • felt marking pen
Directions:

What is a weather vane? When have you seen weather vanes? Write down your answers. Draw a picture of a weather vane.

With the scissors, carefully cut an arrow with a tab from the tag board, as shown. Remember that scissors are sharp, so handle them carefully. Bend the tab slightly so the arrow turns easily when you put it in one end of the straw. Put the other end of the straw in the bottle. Remove enough rocks from the pan to make room for the bottle. Pile the rocks back around the bottle so it won't be blown over. (See illustrations above.)

A compass always point north. Use your compass to find north, and then mark the four sides of the bottle E, W, N, and S with a felt pen.

Set your weather vane in a high place such as the top of a playhouse or a slide. Make sure it does not wobble or tilt, and that it catches the slightest breeze.

Watch your weather vane closely and then describe how it works. Test it on windy days and again when there is just a light breeze.

Background Information:

A weather vane is a tool used to tell which direction the wind is coming from. Weather vanes are usually found on top of buildings so they will catch an open breeze. Look for them on top of barns, houses, weather stations, hardware stores, and other places that sell or use weather tools. The part of the vane that turns into the wind is usually shaped like an arrow. The other end is wide so it will catch the smallest breeze. Sometimes a metal rooster or other animal sits on top of the weather vane.

You have made a weather vane! If the wind is blowing from the south, the wind is usually warm. If the wind is blowing from the north, the wind is usually cooler.

Some weather vanes have directional strips underneath the arrow to make it easier to read. Your markings on the bottle do the same thing.

The breeze turns the arrow on the weather vane until it catches both sides of the wide equally. The arrow always points into the wind.

It is easier to see how the energy from the wind moves your weather vane if it is up high and in an open area. You might also want to experiment by putting it on the ground.

A weather vane is one of the oldest weather tools. It is still used today to measure the direction of the wind. Weather vanes can only measure wind direction a few yards (meters) off the ground. Large, helium-filled weather balloons are used to measure winds high above the earth's surface. The balloons move with the same speed and direction as the wind.