anemometer is a device that tells you how fast the wind is
blowing. The device you can build is a model of a wind speed
indicator. A real one will be able to accurately measure how
fast the wind is blowing. Yours will give you only approximation
of how fast it's blowing. It can't give you an exact wind
The energy in the moving wind can be used to generate electricity.
But you have to know how fast the wind is blowing before you
can harness wind power.
What You'll Need
· 4 small paper cups (like drinking cups)
· A marking pen (any color)
· 2 strips of stiff, corrugated cardboard -- the same
· Push pin
· Sharpened pencil with eraser on the end
· Modeling clay
· A watch that shows seconds
What to Do
Cut off the rolled edges of the paper cups to make them lighter.
2. Color the outside of one cup with the marking pen.
3. Cross the cardboard strips so they make a plus (+) sign.
Staple them together.
4. Take the ruler and pencil and draw lines from the outside
corners of where the cardboard strips come together to the
opposite corners. Where the pencil lines cross will be the
exact middle of the cross.
5. Staple the cups to the ends of the cardboard strips; make
sure the cups all face the same direction.
6. Push the pin through the center of the cardboard (where
the pencil lines cross) and attach the cardboard cross with
the cups on it to the eraser point of the pencil. Blow on
the cups to make sure the cardboard spins around freely on
7. Place the modeling clay on a surface outside, such as a
a porch railing, wooden fence rail, a wall or a rock. Stick
the sharpened end of the pencil into the clay so it stands
Your anemometer is now ready for use!
Measuring Wind Speed
This anamometer cannot not tell the wind speed in miles per
hour, but it can give you an idea of how fast the wind is
Using your watch, count the number of times the colored cup
spins around in one minute. You are measuring the wind speed
in revolutions (turns) per minute. Weather forecasters' anemometers
convert the revolutions per minute into miles per hour (or
kilometers per hour). Keep a record of the wind speeds you're
measuring for the next few days.
Measure the wind speed at different times of the day. Is it
the same in the morning; the afternoon; the evening? Move
your anemometer to another location. Is it windier in other
places? Do trees or buildings block the wind?
Make A Thermometer
thermometer is an instrument that measures the temperature.
Temperature is measured in a scale called Fahrenheit (by most
people in the United States) and in Celsius or Centigrade
(used by scientists and by people in many other countries).
The point where water freezes is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (F
for short) and 0 degrees Celsius (C). The point where water
boils is 212 degrees F and 100 degrees C. If you want to know
how to convert from F to C or from C to F, see the end of
Some scientific thermometers use the Kelvin scale, where 0
degrees Kelvin is called absolute zero -- a place where there
is no movement of any parts of matter, where substances have
no thermal energy. It's about minus 273.15 degrees C (below
0° C) or 459.67 degrees below 0° F. Scientists have
never been able to measure anything at absolute zero, though
they have gotten very close.
Thermometers help us know what the weather will be like. If
it will be 90°F outside, we're not going to put on a winter
coat. Or if it's below zero, we won't be wearing shorts. Here's
a way to show how a simple thermometer works.
What You'll Need
· Tap water
· Rubbing alcohol (do not drink this)
· Clear, narrow-necked plastic bottle (11-ounce water
bottles work well)
· Food coloring
· Clear plastic drinking straw
· Modeling clay
What to Do
Pour equal parts of tap water and rubbing alcohol into the
bottle, filling about 1/8 to a 1/4 of the bottle.
9. Add a couple of drops of food coloring and mix.
10. Put the straw in the bottle, (DO NOT DRINK MIXTURE) but
don't let the straw touch the bottom.
11. Use the modeling clay to seal the neck of the bottle,
so the straw stays in place.
12. Now hold your hands on the bottle and watch what happens
to the mixture in the bottle.
Congratulations!!! You just made a thermometer. Just like
any thermometer, the mixture expanded when it was warmed.
This made the liquid no longer fit in the bottom of the bottle.
As the alcohol expanded the colored mixture moved up through
the straw. If the bottle were to get very hot, the liquid
would have come through the top of the straw.
You can watch your thermometer and see how the liquid changes
throughout the day. What happens if your thermometer is in
shadow or in sunlight? What happens when it gets colder? How
does wind affect the thermometer?
Of course, in order to accurately read the temperature, you
will need to buy a real thermometer that is carefully calibrated
for temperature changes. This one is to see how a thermometer
works -- just for fun.
After you're done with your thermometer, dispose of the liquid
properly and rinse the bottle well. Cut it in half, or have
a parent cut it in half, so the bottle can't be reused. Then
recycle the plastic. The used bottle could have some left
over alcohol in it, and you don't want anyone to reuse the
bottle for drinking water. So, it's best to recycle the bottle.
Changing Temperature Scales
The Fahrenheit scale was named after Gabriel D. Fahrenheit
who lived from 1686 to 1736. He devised a way of measuring
temperature. The Celsius scale was named after Anders Celsius,
its inventor, who lived from 1701-1744. The Celsius scale
is also called Centigrade. The Centi in centigrade means 1/100
(one one-hundredth) for the 100 equal divisions on the scale
and is used by scientists. It is the temperature scale used
by most of the world. The difference between the temperature
where water freezes and boils is an even number of degrees...100.
In the Fahrenheit scale, the difference between freezing (32°
F) and boiling (212° F) is 180.
can change the temperature in Fahrenheit into Celsius using
Take your number; subtract 32° from it; and divide the
remainder by 1.8.
Change 75 degrees Fahrenheit into Celsius.
75 - 32 = 43
43 / 1.8 = 23.88° C
So, 75° F is equal to 23.88° C
change the temperature in Celsius to Fahrenheit: Multiply
your number by 1.8 and add 32°.
Change 12 degrees Celsius into Fahrenheit.
12 x 1.8 = 21.6
21.6 + 32 = 53.6° F
So, 12° C is equal to 53.6° F