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Science - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1
This activity will help students learn how to measure the direction and speed of wind.
Activity 1 Materials
Wind is one of the elements of weather. It is the movement of air that can be felt against our face and body. We can see the effect of wind by the movement of objects. The direction, temperature, and speed of wind can help us predict changes in the weather.
1. Use a Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Manifest Science Interests and Attitudes
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Pre-Assessment/Invitation to Learn
Read this story and then ask questions afterwards.
Bill crouched low, peering through the willows at the grazing antelope. It tugged gently on the tips of the young grass shoots, pawed loose from an earlier digging. Dad had instructed him to always stay downwind of animals when tracking and trying to get closer to them. The antelopes head rose at the sound of a snapping twig underfoot as Bill cautiously ventured closer. He noticed tumbling dark clouds over head. The distant thunder momentarily broke his concentration. He recalled his mothers caution that a calm peaceful evening could quickly change with little warning with an approaching storm.
Bill could feel the wind pick up around him. How strange it seemed to stand so close and not be seen by the antelope. The large drops of rain splattered on his coat as he tried to get closer. A sudden boom of thunder echoed in the canyon, startling the unsuspecting antelope. Bill watched as it leaped out of sight. With great excitement, Bill returned to camp having successfully tracked and gotten close to the antelope.
If you said air and wind, you are correct. Earth is surrounded by a protective blanket of air that is constantly moving. Moving air is called wind. You might feel a calm, gentle breeze on your face on a lazy summer evening, or experience the ravaging fury of a thunderstorm. Wind can cool you off when youre hot, or fuel forest fires caused by summer lightning.
Activity 1 - Make a Wind Vane
How do you observe the direction of the wind? Do you notice leaves as they are
blown in the fall season? How important is knowing the wind direction when flying a
kite? Wind vanes have decorated barns, houses, and other public buildings for centuries.
They turn with the wind, showing the direction the wind is coming from. You may
have seen windsocks at airports or used as colorful decorations on peoples homes. By
observing wind vanes, meteorologists know a winds direction and can predict how this
moving air will change the weather conditions in an area. Wind is what brings us storms. By knowing the direction and speed of wind, we are able to forecast the weather. Right now we are going to make a wind vane.
(This can be done individually or as groups.)
Activity 2 - Make a Wind Speedometer (Anemometer)
Along with wind direction, meteorologists measure wind speed. Wind speed is a measure of how fast the air is moving. It is measured using an instrument called an anemometer. As the spinning cups of an anemometer turn, the speed of the wind is determined. Knowing wind speed helps meteorologists forecast the upcoming weather, or how long the same weather will remain in an area. Right now we are going to make a wind speedometer that will tell us approximately how fast the wind is blowing.
(This can be done individually or as groups)
Activity 3 - Observing and Recording Wind Data
Meteorologists are weather scientists that observe and forecast weather. Wind is one of the important weather conditions they study. Knowing wind direction and wind speed can help them predict how and when the weather will change. We will observe the wind each day with our instruments just like a meteorologist. We will record the wind direction and wind speed for a few days.
Homework & Family Connections