Hooked On Science: Pinecone Hygrometer

Pinecones act as a natural hygrometer, which measures the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Pinecones contain seeds, which are transported by the wind. Pinecones open their scales to disperse the seeds when the air is dry and close their scales when the air is moist, which keeps the seeds dry. Therefore, when a pinecone closes its scales, it’s indicating a higher humidity, while a pinecone with open scales, indicates a lower humidity. Go to www.hookedonscience.org for more experiments that might get you and your family “Hooked on Science.†INGREDIENTS · Pinecone INSTRUCTIONS STEP 1: Attach a pinecone to a secure location outside. STEP 2: Record the humidity for your location from www.weather.gov and whether the pinecone is open or closed each day. Represent your data in a table. STEP 3: After two weeks graph your data. What happens to the pinecone when the humidity is high? What happens to the pinecone when the humidity is low? Describe any weather patterns over the two weeks. Using the data describe the typical weather conditions expected during this time of the year.

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