Teach Kids How to Make an Anemometer

Have you ever wondered if there’s a way you could measure how fast the wind is going? Well, that’s what an anemometer is for. There are a ton of different kinds of anemometers, and each one is made for a different environment, measurements, and situations. While some types of anemometers use lasers and ultrasonic measuring technology, a cup anemometer is a very basic type which works well for the average situation. The cup anemometer is also called a Robinson anemometer. It is made of cup-like shapes which the wind catches are spins the device. The number of times it spins will tell you how fast the wind is blowing.
How do you make an anemometer?How to make an anemometer

  • A hole punch
  • 5 small paper cups
  • Duct tape
  • 3 wooden dowels
  • Scissors
  • Stopwatch
  • Empty water bottle


  • Take the hole punch and 4 of the cups, make a hole in the side of each.
  • On the last cup, make 4 evenly spaced holes around the rim. This is going to be the center piece.
  • With two of the wooden dowels, slide them through the holes of the center cup, crossing like a big “X”.
  • Place one cup on the end of the dowels, and then use your duct tape to secure them in place. Make sure all the cups are facing the same direction. Why do you think this is important?
  • With the last wooden dowel, poke a hole in the bottom of the middle cup.
  • Push the dowel through the center cup until it reaches the dowel “X”, then secure everything with duct tape. You now have your rotation axis.
  • All you have to do is put the middle dowel into the empty water bottle and take it somewhere windy.

Calibrating Your Anemometer

  • When the wind is not blowing, have an adult drive you down the street going 10 miles an hour.
  • Hold your anemometer out the car window and count how many times it spins in 30 seconds.
  • The number of spins in 30 seconds will be the number that will spin when the wind is blowing 10 miles per hour.

Once you have calibrated your anemometer, you have a base line for how fast the wind is going. You know the number of spins in 30 seconds which tells you the wind is going 10 miles per hour, so you will be able to tell whether the wind is moving faster or slower than this. You can ask the adult to drive you at different speeds if you’d like to calibrate other spin cycles. Science fair project for kids 3rd to 6th grade

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