Measure the Pressure: The "Wet" Barometer

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In this activity, learners use simple items to construct a device for indicating air pressure changes. Learners build water barometers (also known as "storm glass" barometers) and record the height of the water in the device for 10 days. Learners observe how the changes in water level relate to the changes they notice in the weather. This lesson guide includes background information about air pressure, the history of barometers, and how pressure relates to weather and thunderstorm safety. Learners can also build a "dry" barometer by following the instructions in the related resource.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 4 weeks

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • Glass or beaker with straight sides
  • Plastic ruler
  • Tape
  • One foot of clear plastic tubing
  • Molding clay or chewing gum
  • Water
  • Food coloring


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, National Weather Service,