Which Way Does The Wind Blow? A Weather Vane Can Show You!

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Design and create a weather vane that shows the accurate direction of the wind.

Big Idea

Meteorologists use weather instruments to observe and document weather patterns leading to more accurate forecasts.


1 minutes

Warm up

5 minutes

I wanted my students to understand that before there were computers, radar, or satellites circling Earth, people have always tried to predict the weather. I created a PowerPoint Weather Instrument Weather Vane where I ask " What tool, or instrument,can a meteorologist use to determine the direction of the wind?" This gets the conversation going and they are hooked! I also use the PowerPoint to help keep us on track, and to ensure that no essential information is inadvertently missed because of any other points that may arise during the course of the  lesson.

Guided practice

15 minutes

By using the PowerPoint Weather Instrument, Weather Vane, I was able to touch upon the different learning styles that are in my classroom. The PowerPoint also helped lead my students to the next segment of the lesson, where they design and build their own weather vane. During this activity, my students had the option of working alone or with a partner. I felt this strategy gave that extra support to those students that may struggle with the engineering aspect of the lesson.


25 minutes

Some of my students struggled with the fact that I did not tell them how to build the weather vane, I simply gave them the materials. There was even a student who asked " Is that even allowed?' Yep, made me smile, especially when he figured it out and it worked! I created a focus page Weather Vane Design Challenge, which I believe helped my students put their ideas down, whether on their own or with their partner, here's one student figuring out how to build one. I think that without it, the students would not have been as successful. Here is the completed weather vane

Class Discussion/WrapUp

10 minutes

I purposely created a reflection sheet, Weather Vane Design Evaluation, however, I left out the word reflection. I find that when I ask students to reflect, they struggle in pinpointing their ideas, but when I ask them to "evaluate" what they've done, they are ready to share what worked and what didn't. The students also tracked the wind direction by using a Weather Vane Wind Direction Log I created. The were excited to use a tool they built to document the wind direction.