How to make a pinecone weather station

Did you know that pinecones open and close based upon the humidity (how much water is in the air)? In low humidity pinecones open and in high humidity they close. This can be used to create homemade weather stations that can help you track changes in the weather.

pinecone1

You’ll need:

  • a pinecone
  • a way to stand your pinecone up
  • some paper
  • a needle or toothpick
  • some time

First, find a way to make your pinecone stand up. In our demonstration at the Forest of Reading, we hot-glued the pinecone to a small piece of cardboard. If you have a larger pinecone, you can cut the bottom out of a soda bottle and stand it up in there.

Once your pinecone can stand, stand some paper behind it. Since you’ll be using the paper to track the movement of the pinecone, you might want to use lined paper, since it will give you good marker lines.

If you’re using a pinecone with thick scales, carefully stick a needle into the end of one of the scales.

pinecone2

If you’re not using a pinecone with thick scales, carefully glue a thin toothpick or a thin strip of paper to one of the scales.

You’ll need to use the pin or the strip of paper to track how much the pinecone opens or closes. Go online and search for “humidity london ontario.” This will bring you to a website that tracks daily humidity levels. Draw a line where the needle or paper is and write down beside it the humidity level for that day.

For the next few days watch the needle and see how much it moves. Over time you’ll be able to predict the humidity by the position of the needle. Since your house might be more or less humidity than it is outside, you might want to keep your weather station outside, or near a window.

To learn more about why the pinecone opens and closes based upon the humidity, visit thehappyscientist.com.

-MakerBus

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