Making Weather Instruments





Name of Activity Making Weather Instruments
Author Ramona Gravesande
Keywords anemometer, thermometer, construct, weather, conditions, barometer, hygrometer, rain gauge
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will construct an anemometer and a thermometer.
Lesson Objectives: To teach students about weather and measuring weather conditions.
Materials Needed: Rubbing alcohol
Plastic bottles
Food coloring
Plastic straws
Modeling clay
4 small paper cups
2 cardboard strips per student
Pencils with erasers
Necessary Background A thermometer measures the air temperature. Thermometers are closed glass tubes containing alcohol or mercury. When air around the tube heats the liquid, the liquid expands and moves up the tube. A scale then shows what the actual temperature is. A barometer measures the air pressure. It tells whether or not the pressure is rising or falling. A rising barometer means sunny and dry conditions, while a falling barometer means stormy and wet conditions. A hygrometer measures the water vapor content in the air or the humidity. An anemometer is used to measures the speed of the wind. A rain gauge measure how much rain has fallen. There are different types that are grouped by how they operate: recording rain gauge, non recording rain gauge, and rain intensity gauge.

rain gauge

  1. Students first make a thermometer:
    1. fill a plastic bottle with equal parts of tap water and rubbing alcohol to about an eight to a quarter full.
    2. Add food coloring.
    3. Place a straw in the bottle and sue modeling class to seal the straw to the bottle so that the straw stays in place making sure it does not touch the bottom of the bottle.
    4. Have students place their hands on the bottle and observe what happens to the liquid in the straw.
  2. To make the anemometer:
    1. Cut the edges off of four paper cups to make them lighter.
    2. Color the outside of one cup with a pen.
    3. Take two strips of cardboard and cross them so they make a plus sign and staple them together.
    4. Use a ruler to draw lines across the cardboard and where the lines intersect is the center of the cross. Staple the cups to the end of the cardboard making sure they all face the same direction.
    5. Push a pin through the center of the cardboard and attach a pencil to the pin, sticking the eraser to the pin.
    6. Blow on the cups to make sure the cardboard spins freely.
Reference 1
Reference 2

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