|General Information for Teachers
These activities are designed to be relatively open ended. Although
the procedures seem to be “set,” they are not. Some dimensions have
been given and others have been purposely omitted. For example, sizes
of screws, nuts and bolts must be determined by students during the
planning stage of their project. Some materials have alternates and
some steps have been shortened to give students more latitude in their
designs. Remember, the object is to use these instructions as general guidelines, and
for students to develop their own designs.
Elicit responses for better designs during a planning stage. You may
wish to use your more adept art students to draw graphic renditions of
the instruments after the planning stage is completed. From that,
detailed instructions can be written as standard procedures for all to
Another way to approach the activity is to let student teams decide on
alternate designs (if they wish) and keep them secret from other
groups. From there they can gather materials and follow their own
procedures. Students will see a diversity in designs and be able to
determine which ones accomplish the task best.
Precautionshave been listed for students to follow. Parents must be
informed of the precautions if students do the project at home. If
this activity is done in school, you may need the cooperation of other
teachers. The team (student teams and/or teacher teams) concept works
well with this activity. A tech ed teacher will prove to be an asset,
but is not absolutely essential. Try to involve parents in the project
if at all possible.
Weather stations traditionally are housed in louvered sheds. Students
can design and build a shed that can house the project. Otherwise,
thermometers must be kept out of direct sunlight, but the barometer
can be kept indoors or on a screened porch. If there are overhangs at
your school, you can put the instruments there.
It is important students understand that the barometer will not be
anywhere near as accurate as a commercial one. Their instrument will
measure high and low pressure, but unless the pointer arm (coffee
stirrer) is a foot long, the readings will be approximate. Students
must realize that they must make accurate marks on the “scale” over
several cycles of weather, i.e., blue sky to storm and in between.
Bearings in wheels used should be lightly oiled weekly to keep them in
top running order. They should be shielded from rain to keep them from
rusting. If the anemometer is off balance it will wobble in a stiff
wind. It can be balanced by adding small washers or adjusting the
spokes or both. The trial-and-error method of tying washers to the
wheel with thread will work well. Move them around until the wobble is
reduced. Add washers as necessary to smooth the motion.
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