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Backyard Weather Stations

Age: Elementary and up
Time: 2 hours or more
Type of Activity: Backyard science

Materials needed:

  • Thermometer: To record temperature.
  • Rain Gauge: To measure rainfall.
  • Wind/Weather Vane: To record wind direction.
  • Barometer: To measure atmospheric pressure.
  • Anemometer: To measure wind speed.
  • Psychrometer/Hygrometer: To measure relative humidity.
  • Journal: To record your readings and data.
Ever think of building a backyard weather station with your kids? It's fun, easy, and makes a great family project! Your kids will learn the basics of scientific observation and record-keeping while satisfying their natural curiosity about weather.

A weather station is a set of devices for measuring elements like temperature, rainfall, wind speed, and pressure. You can buy these devices in your local hardware store, or you can make them from scratch using common materials found around the house.

A Few Notes on Record-Keeping:

Decide which weather events and data you want to record and how often you want to take measurements (once a day, twice a day, etc.). The more detailed and accurate your measurements, the more specific your picture of the patterns will become. A ruled notebook or ledger is an ideal place to record the measurements. List measurement types down the side (one event per line) and print the dates across the top to create a simple grid sheet.

Hint: Numerical data can also be entered into a simple spreadsheet-type program and manipulated  to create impressive visual charts and graphs to display data. Your kids can also take a crack at creating a wall chart to create a stunning data display. It would make a great science project or extra-credit work in any earth science course.

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