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It's the Humidity

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    Discovery Education

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It's the Humidity

In this activity, learners use pinecones to create a hygrometer, a device that measures the moisture content of the air. Learners discover that in dry air, pinecones open their scales to disperse seeds. In dampness and rain, they close them to protect the seeds. Use this activity to discuss how both plants and animals are affected by their environments.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Spray bottles
  • Water
  • Masking tape
  • Box of toothpicks
  • Small lumps of plasticine
  • 4 Pinecones (preferably with scales that are open, long, and relatively lightweight, because these cones are more sensitive to humidity than heavy, closed, and woody cones)
  • 4 Wide-mouth jars with lids (the jars must be taller than the pinecones)
  • It's the Humidity Worksheet


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Classification
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • 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, Discovery Education, ©2012


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