Make Your Own Cloud
- A wide-mouth, one-gallon clear glass bottle (from a restaurant or deli)
- A balloon
- Rubber band
- Black construction paper, or another dark color (optional)
Step 1: Cut the neck off of the balloon so that the hole is large enough to cover the opening of the bottle when used, single thickness. If necessary, secure it with a rubber band.
Step 2: Place five cubic centimeters of water in the bottle.
Step 3: 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.
Step 4: 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. You can place dark construction paper behind the bottle will make the cloud more visible.
- A glass, jar, or mirror for each child
Step 1: Chill the glasses, jars, or mirrors, then have children blow on them.
Step 2: Ask children to describe what occurs. (A cloud is formed from tiny drops of warm moisture coming from their mouths and condensing on the cold surface.) Ask the children if they have ever seen something similar happen in their homes.
Step 3: 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
- A clear glass or plastic container
- Water, with food coloring added to it
- Plastic wrap
- Rubber band
Step 1: Add a small amount of the water with food coloring to the container.
Step 2: Cover the container with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Set the container in sunlight. Ask the children to discuss what they observe.
Step 3: Explain to students that this a mini version of a water cycle. Condensation builds at the top of the container, mimicking the way clouds form.
- A pie pan
Step 1: Put a two-centimeter deep layer of flour in the bottom of the pan and place it outside at the beginning of a rainstorm to catch the big raindrops.
Step 2: Bring in the pan as soon as a few drops are collected (or else all of the flour will become soggy). Allow it to dry undisturbed.
Step 3: Once dry, 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.
- One straight-sided open jar
Step 1: Collect rainfall for a month or more in the jar.
Step 2: Measure the amount of rain collected after each rainfall.
Step 3: 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.