Header is a photo of supplies used for making a wind vane, as well as two steps for the project.

Try This: Make a Wind Vane

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Wind Vane

It's hard to think about spring in Oklahoma without thinking of wind! Spring in Oklahoma means wind, and a wind vane is just the tool to tell us the direction of all that wind. This instrument points the direction the weather is coming from, or wind direction. Wind direction indicates where the wind is coming from—not the direction in which it is going. 

You can make a wind vane with a few things from around your house. 

Here’s what you'll need:

  • A pencil
  • Scissors
  • Red and black markers or pens
  • Something small and perfectly circular to trace (like a glass or a cup works best)
  • Tape
  • Cardboard
  • Card stock or thick paper
  • Thumbtack  
  • Straw

 

Here's what to do:

1. Using your black marker, trace around your round object onto your cardboard.

2.  Make a mark in roughly the center of your cardboard circle.

3.  Draw a plus sign with the point you just marked as the center.

4.  Directly above the top of your plus sign, close to the outer edge of your circle, use your red marker to write an "N" for north.

5.  To the right of your plus sign, write an "E" for east. Repeat clockwise around the circle with "S" for south and "W" for west.

6.  Cut out your circle from the cardboard using the scissors.

7.  Push your thumbtack through the center of your plus sign. This will help you insert your pencil.

8.  Take your sharpened pencil and place the point in the hole you just made with the thumbtack. Twist your pencil back and forth as you press it all the way through the center hole of the cardboard.

9. Now, let’s make the arrow portion of your weather vane. Cut a triangle out of your card stock. It should be about 1.5 to 2 inches on all sides, but it doesn't have to be exact.

11. Cut 2 small notches in one end of your straw. These notches should be directly across from each other.

12. Insert the center of one side of your triangle into the notches you created in your straw. It should now look like an arrow!

13. Keep your triangle in place by taping both sides of your arrow to the straw.

14. It’s time to assemble our weather vane. Take the thumbtack you used earlier and press it all the way through the sides of the straw, parallel to the triangle portion of your arrow.

15. Press the pointed end of your thumbtack into the top center of the eraser end of a pencil. Make sure it stays in place. Rotate the straw back and forth on the thumbtack to ensure the hole is wide enough that it will spin freely.

Now we can test out our weather vane! 

Take it outside to an open area. Use a compass, phone app, or ask an adult to locate which direction is north. Line up the red N on your cardboard wheel so it’s pointing north.

Wait for a breeze! Your arrow should rotate to show on the wheel what direction the wind is blowing!

  • Photo of supplies for making a wind vane.
  • Photo of someone using a drinking glass to draw a circle on a piece of cardboard.
  • Photo of someone marking the middle of the circle.
  • Photo of someone labeling the cardinal directions on the circle of cardboard.
  • Photo of someone cutting out the circle of cardboard that the cardinal directions are drawn on.
  • Photo of the circle of cardboard with the cardinal directions labeled. There is a green push pin in the middle.
  • Photo of a pencil stuck through the circle of cardboard with the cardinal directions on it.
  • Photo of someone cutting a triangle from the bottom of a green greeting card.
  • Photo of a blue drinking straw with a slit cut through one end. The green triangle is place in the cut slit.
  • Photo of the blue drinking straw, with the green triangle in the cut slit and taped down. The green push pin is stuck halfway down the straw.
  • Photo of the completed wind vane. The pencil is being held upright and the disk of cardboard with the cardinal directions on it is on the pencil about halfway down. The blue drinking straw is stuck to the top of the pencil with the green push pin.