The change in seasons is a great time to get kids thinking about the weather. There are many things kids can learn through studying meteorology—tuning into the environment, taking measurements, collecting data, looking for patterns, making predictions.
Today, let’s take a look at a hands-on weather lesson. This project is simple, easy and uses stuff you probably already have around the house.
- a piece of clay
- square piece of cardboard – a piece from a cereal box will do
- pencil with a fresh eraser
- construction paper
- markers or crayons
Take the kids outside. Have them make observations about the weather. Are there clouds in the sky? Are they moving? Can they feel the wind on their faces? Ask them which direction they think the wind is blowing from.
Next, have the kids find North using a compass (or you can simply point out North if you know where it is). Then have them write North, South, East and West on the piece of cardboard. You can introduce mnemonic devices like Never Eat Sour Wheat, or, point out that West and East spell out WE on a compass.
Cut a notch into each end of the straw.
Cut an arrow and a tail out of construction paper. Slip them into the slits on the straw.
Place a piece clay in the center of the cardboard. Stick the tip of the pencil into the clay.
Use a pin to affix the straw to the top of the eraser. Make sure it’s centered. You may also want to work the pin a bit to help the arrow spin more easily.
Now observe. The arrow will point into the direction the wind is blowing.
Take this activity a step further and have the kids record the wind for a week in a weather journal. Or have kids research jet streams and make predictions about weather headed their way based on the direction of the wind.