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Alexandra Mendez-Zfass

Lesson Plan: Clouds

Clouds: Cotton Candy in the Sky


Lesson Topic: Investigating cloud types and the weather associated with specific clouds.

Length of Lesson: 50-55 minutes

Related Standard of Learning: 4.6b The student will investigate and understand how weather
conditions and phenomena, specifically clouds, can occur and be predicted.

Cognitive Objectives:

Students will:

 Observe and identify cloud types

 Differentiate between cloud types (cirrus, stratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus)
 Associate weather with the specific cloud types

Materials/Technology and Advance Preparation


 Student Interactive Science Notebooks

 The Kids’ Book of Clouds and Sky by Frank Staub (on the chalkboard for a reference)
 Pictures of cloud types; Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulus, Cumulonimbus Clouds
 Handout “Clouds in the Sky” (one for each student)
 Cotton balls (at least a hand-full for each students)
 Glue
 Blue construction paper (enough for the entire class)
 Markers
 Homework handout “Look Up”
 2-liter bottle with tight-fitting lid
 Matches The last three materials
 Water are for the teachers use
ONLY. Do not allow the
students to touch or use.
Advanced Preparation:
1. Create the handouts “Clouds in the Sky” and “Look Up”. Create these handouts the night
2. Set up quick in-class experiment. Get water ready for the bottle.
3. Clear a section of the classroom wall in order to hang the finish cotton ball clouds. Title
the section “Class Clouds”.

Teaching and Learning Sequence

Introduction/Anticipatory Set:
 Tell students that we are going to make a cloud in a bottle.
 Tell students that for safety reasons to remain in their seats during the demonstration
 Place 2 cm of water in a 2-liter plastic bottle.
 Light a match into the bottle.
 Screw the lid on tight and shake the bottle.
 Squeeze the bottle with even, hard pressure. Release your pressure on the bottle. (A cloud
should form. If there is trouble see in the cloud, hold it against a dark surface)
 Explain to the students that clouds form when warm, moist air rises, cools, and expands
or when air masses collide with one another.
 Explain to the students that squeezing the bottle, the air masses/pressure within the bottle,
helps form the cloud.
 Pause for questioning.
 State that when water vapor condenses upon dust particles, a cloud in the atmosphere is

Lesson Development:
 Restate students that clouds consist of water droplets and ice crystals and are formed
around small particles of dust.
 Tell the students that there are four types of clouds: Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulus, and
 Write these names on the board.
 Explain that the four types of clouds (Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulus, and Cumulonimbus) are
classified by shape and altitude.
 Ask the class, “Does anyone know what the word “altitude” means?”
 If the answer is not arrived upon, tell the students that altitude is defined as height or the
vertical, “up” measurement above the earth’s surface.
 Show students the power point of clouds with sounds
 Ask students with each picture, “What are some things you notice about this type of
cloud? “Is the cloud thick or thin?” “What does the cloud remind you of? What does it
look like? What do you hear?”
 Call on a few students with each picture.
 Tell the class to take out their Student Interactive Science Notebooks
 Pass out “Clouds in the Sky” handout.
 Read the Cirrus cloud description out loud.
 Ask if anyone would like to read the Stratus description out loud.
 Continue this until all the descriptions are read.
 Tell the students to cut out the handout and place it on the right side of their notebooks.
 Ask the students, “Which cloud has the highest altitude?” “Which cloud as the lowest
 Tell the students to underling the altitude levels of each cloud with a blue colored marker.
 Tell students that clouds also help us predict the weather.
 Ask the students, “What type of weather is associated with a Cumulus cloud?’
 If the answer is arrived upon, tell students to circle all weather associated with each
 Pause for questioning.
 Tell students that they are now going to chart the altitude of the four different types of
 Pass out cotton balls and blue construction paper. Tell the students that the cotton balls
are acting like clouds in the blue construction paper sky.
 Instruct the students to glue the cotton balls on the paper to approximate where the cloud
type would appear in the sky (give the students 5 minutes to do this)
 Have the students label the different types of clouds on the blue paper.
 Tell students that when they are down to leave the paper on their desks and talk to their
neighbor about their favorite cloud and why.
 Once everyone is done with the cloud chart, tell students that now we are going for a
quick trip outside to look at what type of clouds are in the sky today.
 Tell the students to line up at the door, walk slowly and quietly outside.
 Once outside have students stand around you in a circle.
 Tell students to look up.
 Ask the students “What kind of cloud do you think is in the sky today?” “What do you
observe about the clouds in the sky?”
 Call on a couple of students.
 Ask the students “What kind of weather do you think is associate with the clouds in the
sky?” “Can we make a good prediction about the weather we are going to have today?”
 Tell students to talk with one another about what they see in the sky and their weather
 Ask students to return in the classroom as slowly and quietly as they did coming outside.
 Once back in the classroom, tell students to return to their seats.
 Review the types of clouds quickly to the class, and show the students that book The
Kids’ Books of Clouds and Sky
 Tell students to draw a picture on the LEFT of the clouds and the weather associate with
the clouds that they saw today.
 Tell students to label the type of cloud on the LEFT side of their notebook.
 State that the students can look in the book for help if needed.
 Walk around to make sure that everyone is on task
 Ask the students what type of clouds were in the sky today and what weather is
associated with that cloud.
 Call on students with their hands up.
 Write the adjectives on the board.
 If an answer is repeated put a tally next to the answer.
 Help the students come to a class consensus about what today’s cloud is prediction.
 Handout “ Look up” homework assignment.
 Read the assignment aloud to the entire class.
 Ask if the students have any questions about the lesson or the homework.

 Writing student answers on the board and making sure that they are with in an
appropriate range.
 Pause for questioning, especially after the mini-experiment, and the introduction of the
four types of clouds.
 Ask students “Which cloud is the highest altitude?”, “Which cloud as the lowest
altitude?” These questions will help you gauge how much longer to spend on the concept
of altitude.
 Listen to students when describing the clouds outside; make sure that the descriptions are
pertaining to the types of clouds reviewed.
 Walk around while the students are making their cloud charts and when they are drawing
their clouds on the left side of their notebooks. This will make sure everyone is on tasks
and understanding the lesson.

 Review the student notebooks looking for the underlying of altitude on the RIGHT
side of the notebook, and on the LEFT side looking for a drawing that correctly
depicts the type of clouds seen outside.
 Record any severe problems with the notebook. Add a check minus, check, check
plus for both sides of the notebook. If all components are in place give a check plus;
if most are in place give a check; and if there are a lot of components missing give a
check minus and make a personal note to talk to the child.
 Review of the cloud chart. Make sure that the clouds are in the correct approximate
place. If so give a sticker on the back of the chart.

“Science Enhanced Scope and Sequence, 4th Grade”
sol/standards_docs/science/index.shtml, September 24, 2010
Staub, Frank. (2005)The Kids’ Book of Clouds and Sky. Sterling Publishing, Inc: New York