Wind Vane and Anemometer

This experiment teaches students about measuring wind direction and speed.



2 colors of card stock

Modeling clay

Double-sided tape




1 wooden barbecue skewer, cut in 2 pieces about 3 ½" from the pointed end





What To Do

Cut the cardstock into different sizes of rectangles, one color 7" x ½", and the other color 4" x 9". Draw a center line across each rectangle, splitting them in half lengthwise (i.e. the small piece will have a line at 3 ½" and the large one will have a line at 4 ½". Draw a line on the large rectangle to the right of the center line. Tape the long part of the skewer along the off-center line of the large rectangle, leaving about ½" of the skewer sticking out above the rectangle. Fold the large rectangle along the center line, and tape the insides together using the double-sided tape.

Tape a ½" straw on the center line of the small rectangle. Fold the rectangle over the straw and tape the insides together. Thread the short skewer through the straw in the small rectangle. With a pen point, make a small hole in the top corner of the large rectangle, next to the skewer. Using the protractor, draw a 90 degree arc near the bottom corner of the large rectangle that is opposite the hole, marking it at 15 degree intervals. Stand the rest of the straw upright in some modeling clay to hold the stick of the large rectangle. Put the other stick (with the small card on it) through the small hole in the corner. Use modeling clay on the ends of the skewers to secure them. When wind blows, the large card will show direction and the small card will show speed.



"How Weather Works," Michael Allaby, Reader’s Digest, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1995.

Grade Level: This experiment is expected to be appropriate for grades 2 and above.

© S. Olesik, WOW Project, Ohio State University, 2002.