Monday, September 26, 2011

Project Paper Hot Cup: Cup Anemometer

Learning can come from even the simplest activities like playing, especially if a capable adult supervises it. In this issue of Project Paper Hot Cup, we are going to help you transform your children’s play time into a creative science experiment by teaching you how to make an anemometer from using recycled paper hot cups.

First things first. What is an anemometer? An anemometer is an instrument used to measure wind speed. It is one of many tools used by scientists to predict weather patterns. Of course, professional caliber anemometers are more complex but a cup anemometer is a great learning tool for budding scientists.

For this paper hot cup project, you will need five small used and cleaned up hot cups, a hole puncher, scissors, a marker, a sharpened pencil, two non-bending drinking straws, push pins, and a stapler.

1. Line up the hot cups on a flat surface. Punch a hole, about half an inch from the top, on the side of each of the four cups. On the fifth cup, punch four holes, about a quarter inch from the top, equally spaced around the rim of the cup.

2. To make the paper cups lighter, trim the lipped rim off the first four cups. Mark the bottom of one of the four cups with an X.

3. Push the sharpened pencil (pointed end first) through the center of the bottom of the fifth cup. Make sure that the eraser is inside the cup and the sharpened point is extended underneath.

4. Feed the straws through the four holes at the top of the fifth cup, making sure that they cross in the center. Push the pushpin through the intersection of the straws. Now, slide the pencil up inside the paper cup until the eraser is touching the point of the pushpin. Secure the straws to the pencil by pushing the pin into the eraser.

5. Slide the remaining cups on the ends of the straws. Fold the end of the straw and staple it opposite to the side with the hole. To check your work, make sure that the cups are on their sides and the open ends should all be pointing in the same direction.
6. Finally, take the finished anemometer outside and watch it spin. Count the number of spins by keeping track of the marked cup (the one with the X on the bottom).