Make a Wind Vane
Breezy weather? Help your first grade scientist relate it to weather across her community and state, and make a replica of a classic scientific measurement tool in the process!
What You Need:
- Round plastic drinking cup with lid, or round food storage container with lid
- Pebbles or sand
- Sharpened pencil
- Drinking straw (straight one, no bendies!)
- Straight pin
- Posterboard or card stock paper
- Sharpie marker
What You Do:
- Start by putting the lid on the plastic container, and turn the container upside down. Trace around the lid, and then make another circle around the outer edge, at least 2” wider than the first one.
- Use a ruler to divide the lid in half along its diameter, and then divide each of those halves in half. Have your child write the words for the four parts of the compass along the outer edge of each of the four sides. Moving from top, clockwise, she should write “North, East, South, and West.”
- Now open the container. Stick a blob of modeling clay or putty on the bottom of the container, and then fill the remainder to the top with pebbles or sand. Snap the container lid on, and tape it, if necessary, to keep it secure.
- Glue the container, upside down, onto the cardboard compass base you have just made.
- Take the sharpened pencil, and poke it through the center of the plastic container so that the eraser is on top, and the point is held by the putty and sand.
- Now cut a broad triangle and square, about 3” across, from your construction paper. Cut a slit in each end of the straw, and pull the triangle through one end and the square through the other. Use a bit of glue if they seem to slip. Push the pin through the center of the straw and attach it to the top of the pencil eraser. If you flick the straw, or blow on either end, it should move freely.
- Take your wind vane outside to a place where the wind is not highly obstructed. Help your child find north, south, east, and west on a real compass, and line up the wind vane. Wait for the next breeze—the arrow will point to where it’s coming from, giving your child a great lesson to reinforce those first grade mapping and earth science skills she’s learning in school.