Measuring Wind Speed

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In this indoor and/or outdoor activity, learners make an anemometer (an instrument to measure wind speed) out of a protractor, a ping pong ball and a length of thread or fishing line. This is a great activity for a windy day, or stay indoors using an electric fan. The PDF includes ideas for going further and links to sites about wind technology.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • tables
  • 6-inch plastic protractor for each participant with a hole in the center at 0°
  • ping-pong ball for each participant
  • dark thread or fishing line
  • tape or glue
  • pens
  • fans (if you cannot go out in the wind)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Energy and Power
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Office for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (MSTE), University of Illinois


  • All rights reserved, University of Illinois, 2009

Funding Sources:

  • 3M Foundation
  • Noyce Foundation