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Measure the Wind with this Fun STEAM Project

When you walk outside this spring, you might notice it is very windy. Have you ever questioned exactly how windy it is though? Sure you could just look at the weather app on your phone to ease your curiosity, but where's the fun in that? Teach your children how to measure the wind speed with a homemade anemometer, or wind gauge. You probably have everything you need to make one too.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 4 plastic or paper cups

  • a stapler/ staples

  • scissors or box cutter

  • a ruler

  • a pencil with eraser on top

  • a full jar of playdough

  • a thumb tack

  • 2 strips of cardboard each 12" long by 1.5" wide

  • Stickers, color tape or markers for decorating 1 cup

  • Stopwatch or timer in your phone

How to make an anemometer:

First you'll need to cut two strips of cardboard each to 12"x 1.5". Then staple them together in the center so that they form a cross. Try to get it as close to even as you can to keep it balanced. Use your ruler to do so.

Next, take one of the cups and decorate it so that it is different from the other three. Henry chose to put stickers on his. Now staple a cup on each end of the cardboard cross making sure that the cups are all pointing in the same direction. We tried it first with large cups, 16 oz, and then with smaller cups (8oz) to see if it made a difference. The smaller cups worked better, but if you only have large ones, they will work too.

Now cut a slit in the top of your playdough container with the scissors or box cutter. Push the pencil all the way down into the jar. Then take the cross with the cups and flip it over so that the cups are on the bottom and the cardboard is on top. Puss the thumb tack through the center of the cardboard cross and then through the pencil eraser. That's it. You're ready to take your homemade anemometer outside and test the wind speed.

Henry was excited to see the anemometer in action

How to use your anemometer:

Set your anemometer on a high platform, like a table or the back of a truck (like we did).

To determine the wind speed you'll need to set your timer for 1 minute and count how many times the cup that you decorated goes around. 10 times equals roughly 1 mph. So, if your cup goes around in a circle 10 times in that one minute, then the wind is blowing at roughly 1 mph.

Henry and Lilly Ann were so excited to see the cups spin. No matter your child's age, they will enjoy the project too.

What was your child's reaction to making an anemometer? Share in the comments below and follow Crafts & Coffee Cafe for more fun projects.

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