The Cloud Book Teaching Plan
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- You can make a cloud in the classroom with a one-gallon wide-mouth clear glass bottle (obtainable from a restaurant or delicatessen). Cut the neck off a balloon that is large enough to cover the opening of the bottle when used single thickness. (If necessary, you can secure it with a rubber band.)
Place 5 cm of water in the bottle. Add smoke to the bottle from a smoldering match or two. Quickly cover the bottle opening with the balloon to contain the smoke, which should not be visible. With your hand, press the balloon into the bottle for 15 seconds, then catch the balloon with your fingers and thumb and pull up on it for 15 seconds. Repeat this 15-second pressing down and pulling up several times. With adequate smoke in the bottle a cloud should form several centimeters above the water. If not, remove the balloon and add more smoke. Placing dark construction paper behind the bottle will make the cloud more visible.
- Chill a glass, jar, or mirror for each child. Have children blow on it. Ask them to describe what occurs. The cloud is formed from tiny drops of warm moisture coming from the mouth and condensing on the cold surface. Ask the children if they have ever seen something similar happen in their homes.
Explain that this is called condensation and can frequently be seen on windows when the temperature outside is colder than inside, and when there is a lot of humidity in the air.
- Set up a water cycle. In a clear glass or plastic container, put a small amount of water to which food coloring has been added. Cover with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Set the container in sunlight. Ask the children to discuss what they observe.
- Collect raindrops in a pie pan. Put a 2 cm deep layer of flour in the bottom of the pan. Place it outside at the beginning of a rainstorm to catch the big raindrops. Bring it in as soon as a few drops are collected (or else all of the flour will become soggy). Allow it to dry undisturbed. Then sift out the lumps formed by the raindrops. Are all these raindrops the same size? Repeat the activity during different rainstorms and compare the size of the drops obtained.
- Collect rainfall for a month or more. Use a straight sided open jar. Measure the amount of rain collected after each rainfall. Record the data and use it to construct a graph. Compare the rainfall for a period of time. Ask the students questions that focus on differences and similarities in rainfall.