Measuring Wind Direction (Making a Wind Vane)

Part of the "Predicting Weather" Collection


Students will make a wind vane to measure wind direction.

Estimated Time

45 Minutes

Setting Required

Inside and Outside


  • S4E4. Students will analyze weather charts/maps and collect weather data to predict weather events and infer patterns and seasonal changes.
    • a. Identify weather instruments and explain how each is used in gathering weather data and making forecasts (thermometer, rain gauge, barometer, wind vane, anemometer).
    • b. Using a weather map, identify the fronts, temperature, and precipitation and use the information to interpret the weather conditions.
    • c. Use observations and records of weather conditions to predict weather patterns throughout the year.


  • Cardstock (10 cm x 10 cm sheet per small group)
  • Straw (1 per small group)
  • Pin (1 per small group)
  • Pencil with eraser top (1 per small group)
  • Scissors, glue / scotch tape (1 per small group)


  1. Show students the updated wind map found at and discuss what causes the wind (different temperatures between land and water, warm air rising).
  2. Distribute materials and lead students in following these directions to build their wind vanes.
  3. Place wind vanes out in the school yard and notice that it points in the direction from which the wind is blowing. Students can also add a compass rose to the base of their windvane.
  4. Record data each day for two weeks to determine the prevailing wind patterns of that time of year at your school.

Additional Content for Exploration

Students could also make a windsock to determine the strength and direction of the wind by following the directions on this website.