How Can Kids Make a Weather Station?
Kids can make a simple weather station from things found around the house 15. Add some items from your local hardware store for a somewhat more advanced weather station, or visit the local electronics store for a fancy modern facility 15. You can make your own record-keeping sheets or download some nifty weather station printables from the Internet 15. Whether your child's station is basic or extreme, everyone has weather and can learn from recording observations of it 15.
Basic Weather Station
A bucket of sand or dirt with a tall pole in it, a flag or wind sock to attach to its top and a marked container to catch rainfall are all you need for a basic weather station 15. Use a compass to determine east, west, north and south, and mark them on the sides of the bucket. Put a couple of rocks or bricks in the bottom of the bucket, stand the pole up in it and fill it with dirt or sand. Mark inches on the side of a clear plastic container, and attach it to the bottom of the pole using masking tape. Attach a streamer or windsock to the top of the pole. Place a row of pine cones in a window to act as a natural barometer. According to Science Sparks (a site dedicated to making science fun for kids), when the weather is dry, the cones open up 3. When a storm is expected, they close.
Purchase a climate thermometer from your local hardware store and attach it to the mid-section of the pole. You can also buy a barometer, or you can make a barometer at home. According to the Southwest Regional Climate Center, to make a barometer, you will need a large balloon, a plastic canister, a stirring stick, a 3X5 card, and a sheltered place to set up the barometer 6. Cut the bottom off the balloon and secure it over the top of the canister. Tape the stirring stick to the center of the balloon, with one end pointing off the edge. Make a mark on the card to use as a starting position. Record daily changes in pressure by making marks on the card and placing a date beside them.
Electronic Weather Detection
According to one CNN iReporter, who set up a weather station in his backyard in New York, it's easy to add a small video camera to your basic weather station by taping it to the pole and running some cable to a monitor inside the house 15. If you don't want to deal with placing a camera out of doors, you could position one so that it focuses on the weather station from a window or eave of your house 15. You can also purchase kits that include a weather vane, wind speed detector, thermometer and rain gauge that you could mount on your pole instead of the wind sock.
Learning and Keeping Records
You can help your child learn more about the weather by purchasing a book, such as "What Will the Weather Be?" by Lynda DeWitt or "The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting" by Rosemary Breen. Help your child record the daily weather by setting up a portable template that shows the visible weather conditions outside, the wind speed and direction, precipitation amount and any other local conditions of interest. You can download a pre-printed wall form called "My Weather Station" from Mr. Printables 15.
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