A CIESE Realtime Data Project

Activity 1: Make a Weather Station

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Meteorology is the study of all changes in the atmosphere, i.e. the layers of gases (air) that surround the earth. In order to do this we will need to study current weather conditions and the general climate in your area, and identify which factors most affect your daily temperature.

To do this, you must first make a weather station. Begin by designing and building some of the same instruments that meteorologists use.


You will work in small groups to design and construct weather instruments. All of the instruments will then be put together to create a class weather station. By collecting your own data, you will learn more about weather through a process similar to the one that professional meteorologists use.

Part 1: Introduction

  1. Make a Weather Learning Log: This log will be an important tool. You will use it to record weather information as time goes on.
    1. Write your name on the notebook (if you are working as a group, each member should put their name on it). As an optional activity, you can decorate the cover as well.
  2. Discuss and answer the following questions. Record your answers in your Journal.
    1. What do you think of when you hear the word "weather"?
    2. How does weather affect our daily lives? (Ex. what kinds of clothes do you wear, outdoor activities that you do, etc.)
    3. What kinds of things would you look for if you wanted to describe the weather of a particular day to someone else?
    4. What kinds of information are important to collect?
  3. Brainstorm designs for instruments that you could use to measure each of the following AND answer the corresponding questions in your Journal:
    1. Temperature: What does temperature have to do with weather?
    2. Wind: How can you describe wind? Are there different types of wind? Can you measure how fast the wind is blowing and where its blowing to?
    3. Precipitation: Are there different types of precipitation?; How could rain be measured?
    4. Air pressure: What is air pressure? Why should we measure it? What does air pressure have to do with weather?
    5. Sky conditions:  Write a list of standardized terms to describe sky conditions (e.g. clear, partly cloudy, overcast with openings, overcast, etc.)
  4. Present: Each group should first design the class weather instruments.
    • Additionally, the class should develop a list of standardized sky condition terms to use for the rest of this project.

Part 2: Make a Class Weather Station

  1. Build the following weather instruments in the order below. Directions are provided for each.
    1. Barometer (Air pressure)
    2. Rain Gauge (Precipitation)
    3. Thermometer (Temperature)
    4. Wind Vane (Wind Direction)
    5. Anemometer (Wind Speed)
  2. Practice with the Instruments: repeatedly test the instruments for accuracy.

  4. Record your measurements: Please follow the guidelines below.
    NOTE: If you are combining Activities 1 and 2, record your measurements in the column marked "Class Instruments" in the Current Conditions table.
    1. Temperature (Use a commercial outdoor thermometer and record in degrees Celsius):
    2. Sky conditions (Observe outside and use one of the standardized sky condition terms. For example, clear, partly cloudy, overcast with openings, overcast, etc.):
    3. Wind (calm, light, etc.):
    4. Wind Direction (N, NW, W, SW, etc.):
    5. Wind Speed (how many times the anemometer spun):
    6. Precipitation Type (at data collection time - rain, drizzle, snow, none, etc.):
    7. Precipitation Amount (in last 24 hours. Record your findings in mm):
    8. Air Pressure (record your finding in the units marked on your class barometer):

Homework (optional)

  1. Do you think the weather instruments you made are as accurate as those used by professional meteorologists? Why or why not?
  2. How could you make them more accurate?
  3. If you have Internet access, select and print a satellite maps (back-up) where your country is located and answer the questions below:
  4. Questions:
    • What do you see in the map?
    • Do the current weather conditions in your city match up to what you see on the satellite map?
    • How could you use a satellite map to predict weather?

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