What Is A Wind Vane?

A wind vane, also called a weather vane, is a tool that shows which direction the wind is blowing from. 

  • A wind vane has an arrow or a pointer that can spin freely.
  • When the wind blows, it pushes against one side of the arrow, making it turn. 
  • The arrow always points into the wind, showing which way it’s coming from. 
  • By looking at the wind vane, we can tell how the wind blows.

It helps people understand and predict the weather.

Homemade Wind Vane

Materials Needed:

  • A pencil with an eraser
  • A drinking straw
  • A straight pin
  • Cardstock or thick paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • A small cup
  • Clay or putty
  • A compass (for finding north)

Steps To Make A Wind Vane:

  • Prepare Arrow and Base:
    • Cut out an arrow and a tail from the paper and attach them to the straw. Fill the cup with clay and insert the pencil eraser side down into the clay.
  • Assemble the Wind Vane:
    • Push the pin through the middle of the straw and into the pencil eraser, allowing the straw to spin freely.
  • Find North:
    • Use a compass to find north and align your wind vane to point north.
  • Test The Wind Vane:
    • Place the wind vane outside where it can catch the wind and observe how it moves to show wind direction.

Fun Facts

Here are some interesting facts about wind waves:

  • The first wind vane was recorded in 48 BC by Greek astronomer Andronicus. 
  • Wind vanes were initially designed for use on boats to help sailors navigate.
  • Wind vanes help to determine the best locations for wind turbines to harness the power of the wind.
  • The world’s largest wind vane is located in Montague, Michigan, USA. Known as the “Montague Windmill,” it is 48 feet tall and has a 26-foot arrow.


Let’s quickly recap what we learned about wind vanes:

  • What part of a wind vane spins freely? Arrow
  • What causes the pointer in the wind vane to turn? Wind’s Force
  • Which direction does the arrow point to in a wind vane? Direction the wind is blowing from
  • Who mainly relied on wind vanes in ancient times? Sailors & Farmers


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