Assemble a Mini Weather Station
Include a rain gauge, a wind sock, and a thermometer, suggests Kathleen M. Reilly, author of Explore Weather and Climate! To make the gauge, cut the top off a one-liter plastic bottle, cover sharp edges with duct tape, and add quarter-inch marks along the side with a marker. To detect weather patterns, kids can track the temperature, rainfall, and wind direction for a week. Each day, compare the local weather predictions with what they actually observe.
Do Storm Math
Have kids count the seconds (by saying “one Mississippi”) between the time they see lightning and hear a crack of thunder, then divide that number by five. The result reveals approximately how many miles away a storm is.
Don’t know cirrus from cumulonimbus? Download the Cloud Identification Chart at Scool.larc.nasa.gov to find out what’s floating by. (See gray nimbostratus? Grab an umbrella.) Kids can also sign up to report their cloud findings on NASA’s website — which helps scientists figure out how clouds affect climate.
Soak Up the Sun
Make sun prints using paper that’s sensitive to ultraviolet light (find it at Sunprints.org). Arrange objects (a feather, say) on the paper and place it in direct sunlight. Within about five minutes, the paper’s chemicals interact with the light to create a beautiful shadow. Lesson learned: Even though they’re invisible, the sun’s rays are powerful.