Posts tagged: weather

Homemade Anemometer – Weather (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , October 4, 2009 8:35 pm


The theme for this week’s Unplugged Project was weather and the weather today was windy, VERY windy.  We decided to try making a homemade anemometer (device that measures wind speed) with the instructions that I found here.

You’ll need some stiff, corrugated cardboard, four small Dixie-type paper cups, a long sharp pencil with eraser, a stapler, scissors, a push pin and some modeling clay.

First cut the small rims off the paper cups using the scissors.

Next cut the cardboard into two strips of equal length.  Staple them together in the form of a cross.

Color one cup a different color.  Red or something bright would be easier to spot, but all we could find that would work on the waxy surface of the cup was a black Sharpie.

Find the exact center of your cross by drawing an “X” between the corners of the center portion like this:

Where the lines cross is the center and is where you will put your thumb tack.  (NOTE:  This step is easiest to do before you attach the cups).

Staple a cup to the end of each cardboard strip.  Make sure they are all facing the same way and are aligned perpendicular to the cardboard strips.

Push the pin through the center of the cross and into the eraser of the pencil.

Take your anemometer outside and stick it to a porch railing or table in a base made out of modeling clay.

Your anemometer should now spin in the wind!  (*SHOULD* – read note below!)

To check the speed, count the number of times the colored cup passes by you in one minute.  Obviously the more times it swings by, the faster the wind.  You can measure at different times of day to compare the wind speeds.

If you want to get really scientific you can calibrate your anemometer using your car.  Read the clever instructions for how to do it here.

* NOTE* – We discovered that although it was a very, very windy day out (55 mph gusts), the gusts were so variable in strength and direction that our anemometer didn’t spin very well (but it did blow off the railing once or twice!).

It worked much better inside with human-generated wind as you can see here in this very primitive video! (PS. Please ignore my messy house):


If you joined in this week’s weather Unplugged Project, please link to your project post (not just your blog – we always want to be able to find your post) in the Linky below.  If you didn’t join in the Unplugged Project but think you might like to in the future, read more about how to participate here.  We’d love to have you!


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:


I must be in a “W” phase  at the moment.  I hope to see you next week!


What’s Up With This Weather???

By , May 23, 2008 10:13 am

Yesterday was the last day of school here. Always a sad day for me. This year however, I was distracted from my self-pity-fest by the fact that I was driving my children home on the last day of school…in a snow storm! About four inches so far. More on the way today.

On Tuesday we were sweltering in a record-setting 95 degree heat (35 Celsius). Yesterday it was 35 degrees (1.7 Celsius). A 60 degree drop in two days. Impressive!

My son’s birthday party is today. His real birthday is in about 2 weeks, but this year we are having his party early before people depart on their summer adventures. I guess we won’t be picnicking in the back yard as planned. Will the party be snowed out or will we be having snowball fights?

I told my little boy to take a good look out the window because this might be the only snowy birthday party he has in his life!

Spring has (not) Sprung

By , March 9, 2008 9:18 am

What is happening with our weather? A few weeks ago we had some glorious warmth that made the bulbs begin to sprout and put a smile on the face and a spring in the step. Then suddenly, literally overnight, the temperature dropped about 30 degrees and it became cold again.

This morning, after a restless night spent listening to a loud coyote party in my backyard, I awoke to…a dusting of snow! What? Where did spring go? Big sigh.

Sorry for the dull meteorological post, but I just needed to vent.

Thanks to and photographer George Bosela for this fitting photo.

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