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Science - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1
5 class periods of 15 minutes each
Using a ping pong and protractor, students measure wind speed over the course of a week and graph the results.
For the each pair of students:
Wind occurs when the flow of air over the Earth's surface is unevenly heated. Warm air expands, becoming lighter. When this happens, the air rises. As the warm air rises, cooler air rushes in to fill the space left by the rising warm air. This movement is called convection. Wind speed can be measured with an anemometer. At higher elevations, the air gets thinner and there is less air pressure. This reduction in air pressure reduces frictional drag and wind speed increases. The rotation of the Earth also affects wind. There are six major wind belts around the Earth (easterlies, westerlies, and trade winds in both the northern and southern hemispheres) that form by convection.
Ask the students to write a description of how they measured the wind.
Set a fan on low in the room. Individually, give each student a turn to measure the "wind speed" of the fan using a ping pong ball and a protractor.