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Get Outside Like Minna – How Does Wind Work?

March 10, 2019
by Becky Ferrigno

We are definitely well into winter here in Upstate New York! You can’t leave the house without bundling up in layers of warm clothes! My family and I live outside of Rochester, NY. Minna lived in Watertown, NY. The Watertown area is sometimes referred to as the North Country. During the month of March, Watertown gets an average of 12 inches of snow and the temperature rarely gets above freezing! Brrr!

Besides a lot of snow, the North Country is even windier during the month of March. Have you ever wondered how the wind works? This question is the focus of our second Get Outside Like Minna activity!

How Does Wind Work?
Wind is created when there are differences in atmospheric pressures. Atmosphere is another word for the gases that surround the earth. We call it air. When all the gases in the atmosphere are at the same pressure, the air is still and we don’t have any wind. When some of the gases in the atmosphere are made up of high pressure and some of the low pressure, wind forms. This happens because the gases in the atmosphere naturally move from higher to lower pressure areas. The greater the difference between the pressures, the greater the wind.

Want to know more?
Here is an awesome website that explains how temperature differences make the wind blow! https://scijinks.gov/wind/

GOLM # 2: How does wind work?

Step 1: Gather the list of materials below:

  • Paper plate
  • Pencil
  • Crayons/markers (if you want to decorate your creation!)
  • Thumbtack
  • Thread
  • Clothes hanger
  • Scissors

Step 2: Use the scissors to cut the paper plate into a spiral.

Step 3: Use a thumbtack to poke a hole into the center of the spiral.

Step 4: Take a piece of thread, push it through the hole. Knot the thread so it stays.

Step 5: Attach the other end of the piece of thread to the clothes hanger. I wrapped the thread around the hanger several times so that it was secure and did not slide back and forth.

Step 6: Hang the hanger on the bar of a shower or on something that raises the spiral several feet above the ground.

Step 7: Hold a hair dryer as close to the ground, point it toward the spiral and turn it on low.

Step 8: Observe how the spiral moves.

Step 9: Try it again on low but this time move the hair dryer closer to the spiral. Did the movement change?

Step 10: Now change the hair dryer to its highest setting and repeat steps 7-9. Did the spiral move as you expected it would? This is exactly what happens when there is wind blowing outside!

Want to learn how temperature affects wind, how to measure wind direction and other wind experiments that will make you really Get Outside Like Minna?”

Then check out the site below!
Building a Weather Station

Make sure to share your results and pictures of all of your experiments with the community in the comments below!



Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on next month’s GOLM and other Minna related news!

Until next time, happy exploring and make sure to Get Outside Like Minna!”


Picture credits: https://carwad.net/wallpaper-811247, http://www.teacherfiles.com/clip_art_thermometers.htm

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