Measuring Wind Direction
Identifying positive and negative effects of the wind. Learning about wind direction and scale.
Lesson length: 1 session
Lesson from Grandma Bird series
- Wider learning opportunities: Science: weather and seasons
- Wind plays an important role in Grandma Bird. Without the wind, Grandma would not be able to sail her boat. However, storm winds can also be destructive. So in this story, we see both the positive and negative effects of the wind.
This session is designed to:
- help children identify some good uses for wind and some problems caused by wind
- demonstrate that we can measure the direction that the wind is blowing
- develop vocabulary for describing the wind.
- Download the wind direction slideshow
If possible, go outside to find out if the wind is blowing. (If you can wait until a windy day, all the better, even if it is just a gentle breeze).
- Is the wind blowing?
- How can we tell? Can we see it? Can we feel it?
- Which way is the wind blowing? How do we know?
Share the Wind Direction slideshow. Some prompts to use with the slideshow:
- Cover image showing Grandma Bird’s sailing boat? Can you tell which way the wind is blowing? How? (sail and flag).
- Can you see the wind? Talk about whether you can see the wind, or just the effects of the wind (hair blowing, scarf blowing, umbrella turned inside out).
- Has anyone tried to hold an umbrella on a very windy day? How does it feel?
- Windsock: Can you tell which way the wind is blowing? Does anyone know what this is? Introduce the term windsock and explain that it is a device used at airfields to show the direction and speed of the wind. Knowing wind speed and direction helps planes take off and land safely.
- Weather vanes: Has anyone ever seen a weather vane? Encourage the children to look around their neighbourhoods to see if they can find any. Perhaps they can take photographs to share with the class. Most have cockerels on the top, but some have other things. This one has a ship. Point out the compass points and reinforce the cardinal points, North, South, East, West. Can you tell which way the wind is blowing?
- Is wind a good thing? Encourage the children to share different ideas and challenge them to explain their thinking. Invite them to agree or disagree with each other respectfully, introducing the stems, ‘I agree with… because…’ and ‘I disagree with…because…’
- Dandelion clock: What is the wind doing here? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
- Wind turbine: What is the wind doing here? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
- Sailing boats racing: What is the wind doing in this picture? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
- Sailing ship blown onto rocks
- Hurricane destruction: What has the wind done here? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Explain that a hurricane is a storm with a powerful wind. It is exceptional and doesn’t happen very often.
Explain some weather can be dangerous, but people can prepare and protect themselves. Weather forecasts help people take action to protect themselves in bad weather.
Finally gather the class and ask:
- Do you like windy weather?
- Now that you have looked more closely at the effects of the wind, do you think wind is a good thing or a bad thing?
- Can you think of some reasons that it might be good to be able to record which direction the wind is blowing?
measure, breeze, gale, hurricane, strong, light, observe, record, direction
blustery, wild, gusting, gust