You're so Vane

An unusually shaped yellow exhibit table, that has a button to press at each of the four corners and has a model bird in the centre.
An unusually shaped yellow exhibit table, that has a button to press at each of the four corners and has a model bird in the centre.

Wind direction is measured in the direction the wind is coming from.

How it works

Construct a wind vane by attaching parts to a bird that is surrounded by air blowers.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • How does a wind vane point out the wind's direction?
  • Why is the bird's 'tail' larger in size than the 'head'?

Background

When the wind blows, it pushes on the smaller head area. The tail offers more resistance to the wind because it has a larger surface area. The smaller head will always point into the wind to indicate the direction. So during a westerly wind, the head pointer will point towards the west.

Finding the science in your world

Measuring and reporting wind direction is very important for agriculture, so they can assess when they should spray crops, and for the aviation industry, so they can plan flight paths.