Fun and Science with the Weatherhawk myMET digital Windmeter

Checking the windspeed on the Slickrock trail in Moab, Utah. The air was moving at a steady 18 miles per hour. Just enough to make you a little nervous when bicycling along cliff edges.

Checking the windspeed on the Slickrock trail in Moab, Utah. The air was moving at a steady 18 miles per hour. Just enough to make you a little nervous when bicycling along cliff edges. As you can see in the picture the neck lanyard is being pushed away by the wind. Until another indicator was added, the lanyard was used to position the meter correctly for accurate readings.

The Weatherhawk myMET Windmeter

 Measuring wind speed is just one of the many facets of exploring climate science. Wind, or the natural noticeable movement of air is created and changed by many well-known factors including temperature, barometric pressure, landscape, and time of day among others.

Cup-Anemometer-Animation

The use of a digital anemometer allows students to put a quantity on wind speed and a compass will provide direction. Add temperature and you can calculate wind chill. Note the time of day and you can create a detailed date picture of local air movement.

Popular anemometers are often cups or propellers. The myMET uses an eight-blade propeller about an inch (2.54cm) in diameter. The meter and electronics reside an retractable plastic housing that uses a thumb-slider on the right side. A tripod mount is on the base. The meter runs on two CR2032 button batteries contained in a reverse-threaded (turn right to loosen) O-ring sealed comparment.

 The Weatherhawk myMET is a powerful solution to measuring windspeed and temperature as both a standalone device, and in tandem with a tablet such as the iPad. Alone the myMET wind meter provides wind speed, air temperature, and wind chill. But paired via Bluetooth to a comparable iOS or Android device, the meter’s measurements are recorded on one of three screens as well as a data overlay on a photograph taken by the tablet’s camera. myMET outputs the wind speed in miles per hour or meters per second, and temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. Here are some examples:

Temperature and windchill

Temperature and windchill

screen_compass

Average and Maximum wind speed along with a compass using the onboard tablet sensor so there must be alignment between the myMET meter and the tablet.

Altitude and GIS information.

Altitude and GIS information.

 To assist in keeping the myMET perpendicular to the wind direction Weatherhawk offers a tripod-mounted weather vane attachment that holds the myMET. For my tests, I used the included lanyard to position the meter, but later added a length of yarn since the meter could be dropped if the neck strap is not used for its intended purpose.


 Below are some images where the myMET wind speed meter was tested along with some lessons learned along the way.

 

In this image, the windspeed is gusting 33 miles an hour. In the background is a semi truck and trailer that blew over on the interstate highway when the gusts were a little higher just minutes earlier.

In this image, the windspeed is gusting 33 miles an hour. In the background is a semi truck and trailer that blew over on the interstate highway when the gusts were a little higher just minutes earlier.

Here is a closeup of accident. It must have been some gust since this northbound truck was mirrored by a complementary southbound truck that also blew over just a few hundred meters away.

Here is a closeup of accident. It must have been some gust since this northbound truck was mirrored by a complementary southbound truck that also blew over just a few hundred meters away.

 Here is a link to the local news outlet mentioning that there were no serious injuries of anyone involved.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock in Arches National Park is a shocking artifact of erosion. The massive boulder is constantly buffeted by wind on the high desert plain. Using the iPad camera and myMET meter, the image documents both the place and the windspeed.

Wind farms are cropping up where wind is both steady and directionally consistent. High speed wind or heavy gusts are not ideal. In the photo a steady 8 mph wind is spinning the massive turbines just fine.

Wind farms are cropping up where wind is both steady and directionally consistent. High speed wind or heavy gusts are not ideal. In the photo a steady 8 mph wind is spinning the massive turbines just fine. Also, you can see the yarn added to the meter to help keep the meter perpendicular to the wind direction.

 With the increased emphasis on green energy especially wind power, being able to collect accurate numbers for air movement both over time and maximum speed the beginning of some great science and discussion. Hearing or reading a wind speed value is a daily occurrence, but understanding what the numbers feel like takes first-hand experience.

 This chart shows the miles per hour of wind compared to physical indicators.

Speed (mph)

Designation

Description

1-3

light air

smoke drift indicates wind direction

4-7

light breeze

weather vane moves, leaves rustle

8-12

gentle breeze

leaves and twigs in constant motion

13-18

moderate breeze

dust and loose paper raised, small branches move

19-24

fresh breeze

small trees sway

25-31

strong breeze

large branches move, wind whistles wires

32-38

moderate gale

whole trees move, walking affected

39-46

fresh gale

twigs break off trees, walking difficult

47-54

strong gale

slight structural damage occurs, branches break

55-63

whole gale

trees uprooted, considerable structural damage

64-74

storm

widespread damage

75+

hurricane

severe and extensive damage

 Chart from UCAR.edu


 While Weatherhawk does offer a padded case for the myMET, I opted for a ridged case that could take rough student handeling. The myMET seems quite durable on its own and the retracting case that protects the moving parts is probably plenty for most uses. Their padded case is a notch above that. And my Outdoor Products hard case (for sunglasses) is yet another notch higher.

case

A heavy duty crush-proof case used to carry the myMET meter.


Once back in the classroom, I wondered about using the meter to answer a question I’ve had for a while. What is the windspeed of various sizes and types of fans at different distances. The results will blow you away. Here’s a chart from the KidWind Project to get you started. 

Using the myMET to measure air movement from fans.

Using the myMET to measure air movement from fans.

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2 Responses to Fun and Science with the Weatherhawk myMET digital Windmeter

  1. Lauren Burgard says:

    In my fourth grade science classes, I do a weather unit every year. During that unit, the students build homemade anemometers, weather vanes, barometers, and rain gauges. We then observe the weather for a period of a few weeks noting the different weather conditions, temperatures, cloud types, etc. Afterward, we look for weather patterns. I really like the myMet paired with a tablet. It can take your classroom weather observations to a new level. It can allow the students to make more accurate observations, calculate wind chill, and easily track the weather patterns. After looking them up on the internet, I found you can purchase one for under $100 which can be easily worked into a classroom budget. This is definitely tech that I want to try in my classroom this upcoming school year!

  2. Rebecca Barney says:

    In my first grade classroom, we do a weather unit every winter. Part of what we study is windspeed. Because students are so young, we simplify the Beaufort Wind Scale. We use 3 levels of wind: 0 – No Wind, 1 – Some Wind, and 2 Strong Wind. To help teach students the levels of wind, we observe our school’s flagpole, and then we create our own wind flags. Students discuss and chart as a class the characteristics of a flag a 0, 1, and 2. I would love to have something for my grade level to use to track wind in addition to wind flags. Unfortunately, the WeatherHawk myMET is more expensive than my classroom budget can afford. Instead, I think it might be beneficial for students to make an anemometer. I found a couple websites with directions for students to make anemometers and how to use them to calculate wind speed (http://www.weatherwizkids.com/experiments-anemometer.htm and http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/wwatch/gather_data/anemometer.htm). I also found an app for the Ipad that is only $0.99. I would be interested in buying this app and seeing how accurate the anemometer is. The Scholastic Website also has a link for a PDF for a Weather Data Sheet. Students can use this sheet to record data and then analyze the data. I would like to remake this chart as a spreadsheet with formulas already in place. Using that, students would be able to count the revolutions per minute and not have to worry about RPM X 0.2142 = MPH. First grade students are definitely not quite up to the challenge of using multiplication.
    Finally, I really like the idea of measuring the windspeed of various types of fans. With our weather unit, we spent a lot of time observing, but we do not spend a lot of time experimenting. This experiment allows students to feel wind in a different context. In first grade, I would probably choose two fans to test to simplify the experiment for my students. Through this test, they would be able to gain a deeper understanding of the changes in windspeed. Thank you for including the cheat sheet with answers.

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