TryScience Home Page Experiment!Experiment
 
Bubbles
Wind Mapping with Bubbles





 

   Observe and record the wind direction.
 
  
  • Small container of bubbles
  • Map or drawing of a building or your house
  • Something to write on (like a clipboard or book)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Optional: a compass
  • If possible, choose a day with a noticeable wind.
 
   Take your materials outside. Find where you are on your map. Take a wind direction reading by blowing bubbles and note the general direction the bubbles are going on the map. Take readings from different points of the building and at different distances from the building.
 
   What patterns did you notice in the bubbles as the wind blew them? Did the wind blow the same direction all around the building? Taking readings from different points of the building gives the sense that the wind doesn't always travel in the same direction. Blowing bubbles at different distances from the walls of the building will lead to some interesting observations - at times, the bubbles tend to move up the building. What happens if you try this experiment again on another day or at a different time of year?
 
   Encourage your child to think about why knowing the wind direction and/or speed is important. What kinds of occupations/endeavors are affected by the wind (e.g. flying a plane, construction on skyscrapers, etc)? Check out a nearby airport and discover how pilots learn about wind direction. Or fly a kite to explore wind direction.
 
   From Windmills to Whirligigs @ the Science Museum of Minnesota
Weather and Climate @ Explorit! Science Center
Wind Energy @ the National Renewable Energy Lab
Make Your Own Wind Mapper @ the Mount Washington Observatory