Solar4Scholars: Make and Experiment with an Anemometer
To get the most wind energy, you need to know where the best winds are! What's an anemometer? It indicates the speed of the wind - sort of like a wind speedometer.
What you will need
- 4 small paper cups (like drinking cups)
- A marking pen (any color)
- 2 strips of stiff, corrugated cardboard -- the same length
- Push pin
- Sharpened pencil with eraser on the end
- Modeling clay
- A watch that shows seconds
- Cut off the rolled edges of the paper cups to make them lighter.
- Color the outside of one cup with the marking pen.
- Cross the cardboard strips so they make a plus ( ) sign. Staple them together.
- 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.
- Staple the cups to the ends of the cardboard strips; make sure the cups all face the same direction.
- 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 the pin.
- Place the modeling clay on a surface outside, such as a porch railing, wooden fence rail, a wall or a rock. Stick the sharpened end of the pencil into the clay so it stands up straight.
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 this reading into miles per hour. Keep a record of the wind speeds you're measuring for the next few days. This will help you compare wind speeds.
Now, go around to different areas of your neighborhood or school yard. Make sure to try hills and higher areas. Compare the different rates of revolutions per minute. Compare them during different times of the day. Is the wind the same in the morning, afternoon and evening? How does the wind compare in different locations? Compare observations.
You can also make your own wind gauge to be sure your anemometer is facing full wind.