Measure wind speed with this simple, homemade anemometer (say an-uh-MOM-uh-ter).

What You Need:

What You Do:

  1. Color the outside of one cup.
  2. Cross the cardboard strips to form a plus sign. Staple them together.
  3. Staple the cups to the ends of the plus sign, making sure they’re all facing the same way.
  4. Stick the pushpin through the exact middle of the plus sign into the eraser of the pencil.
  5. Stick the pointy side of the pencil in to the clay and mound it up so your anemometer can stand.
  6. Make sure your anemometer spins freely. If not, you may need to adjust it a bit.
  7. Take it outside and set it down in an open area.
  8. Using the stopwatch, count how many times the colored cup goes around in one minute.

What Happened:

You measured the wind’s speed in turns (or revolutions) per minute (RPM). Weather services use anemometers to measure wind, but they convert the RPMs into miles per hour to tell us how windy it will be. To be considered a good wind resource to produce wind power, the wind speeds need to be at least 13 miles per hour, on average. Use your anemometer to measure wind speeds at a different times of day over several days. According to your anemometer, is wind a good resource where you live?

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