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Blowing in the Wind

Test which way the wind blows with soap bubbles.

April 9, 2018
by Robert and Libby Strong and Richard Pollack, SMART-Center , OVParent

Wind is just air moving around. In the springtime, we often have breezy days. But have you wondered what causes the wind to blow? What is the reason for the wind?

Heating of the Earth's surface unevenly causes the wind to blow.

One of the things we learn early in life is that warm air rises and cooler air sinks. This is because cooler air is more dense than warm air and has a higher pressure. As cooler air moves in to replace rising warmer air having less pressure, a breeze is created.

Article Photos

The entire surface of the Earth is heated by our closest star, the Sun, and some areas are heated more strongly than others. The global wind patterns are caused by this uneven heating of the Earth's surface. Pressures need to equalize and the winds we feel are the result of moving air equalizing these pressures. Several websites with weather information for kids are www.kidsgeo.com and scijinks.gov.

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Make Your Own Bubble "Wind Gauge"

You can "see" if the wind is blowing or not by watching leaves move on trees, flags waving or even clouds as they roll across the sky. You can also "see" the wind blow by watching soap bubbles.

You will need:

1. Bottle of soap bubbles with wand

2. Nice, warm day

3. Yourself and an assistant

What to do:

1. Open bottle of soap bubbles. Do not shake them; shaking creates too much foam in the bottle to make good bubbles.

2. Blow as many bubbles as you can.

3. Have your assistant look at the direction the soap bubbles are moving and how quickly they are moving. Are they falling straight to the ground? Are they floating and then falling to the ground? Are they traveling some distance in the air before they fall?

4. Look at the way the bubbles moved. You can make your own wind gauge by using "no wind," "some wind" and "lots of wind" based on how the bubbles move on the wind.

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Locally some areas are breezier than others. One local area that often has a blowing wind is Brooke Hills Park, located on one of the highest elevations in Brooke County. There is a lot of open space, and rising warm air is replaced by cooler, denser air that produces an almost constant breeze.

Because of the usually breezy conditions at Brooke Hills Park, it was chosen as the site for the West Virginia Kite Festival. The 13th annual West Virginia Kite Festival will be held from 1-6 p.m. on April 28. The West Virginia Kite Festival is free and open to the public.

The first 100 children to arrive will receive a free kite with kite string kit. After simple assembly of the kite kit, each child can fly his very own kite at the festival event and then later take it home to enjoy. If you have a favorite kite of your own, also bring it along to help fill the skies over Brooke Hills Park with a rainbow of dancing kites. Additional kites will be available for sale from the New Era Kite Club.

The event is sponsored in part by a grant from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

Be sure to watch the weather forecast so you dress properly for being outside for several hours. Even if the weather forecast for April 28 is calling for a cloudy day, bring a hat and plenty of sunscreen! We look forward to seeing you, your family and friends. Come experience the wind!

 
 

 

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