The Physics of Cloud Formation Lesson Plan


- Clouds and fog are made of tiny droplets of water ad at times, tiny particles of ice.
- Rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation come from clouds; not all clouds produce precipitation.

Subject Matter
- Students are expected to know how to create a chart
- Students are expected to know the various weather types and the fronts of precipitation including fair weather
- Students will know the types of clouds (cirrus, stratus, cumulus, nimbostratus, cumulonimbus) and there shapes

Goals and Aim

1. Students will be able to explain how clouds are formed.
2. Students will systematically observe cloud patterns, various forms of percipitation, and measure temperature.
3. As a result of this lesson, students will be able to categorize cloud patterns by the conditions that form precipitation and vice versa.


Students will be able to:

1. Define the different types of clouds
2. Describe the weather associated witht the different types of weather
3. Match cloud shapes/colors with weather phenomena
4. Compare the types of weather associated with high and low pressure air masses
5. Model and label high and low pressure air masses and warm and cold fronts


Science journal
pictures of cloud types
cotton balls
construction paper
black marker
2-liter glass bottle with lid


A. Introduction-

1. Greet Class. Pass to teh students the prescribed sheet of blue paper. Ask the students to draw a clod they have seen in the sky. Have several students show pictures of their clouds to the class. Discuss how their drawings are alike and different. Tell students they may have all different looking clouds because clouds come in all differnt shapes and sizes.

2. Explain to the class the definition of a cloud.
- clouds form when warm, moist air rises, cools, and expands or when air masses collide with one another. the water vapor condenses upon dust particles to form a cloud in the atomsphere. clouds are indicators of apporaching weather.
3. Expalin that in order for clouds to form, three things needs to happen:
- first, the relative humidity must be close to 100%
- second, tiny bits of matter, such as dust, must be present (water collects or condenses around these particiles)
- third, something must happen to cool the ait. if all three conditions exist, clouds form. the cloud that form depends on how cold the air is and how much water is in the air.

4. explain that clouds are classified by shape and altitude.
5. Mention to students that meterology studies the atompshere and weather. the branch of meteorlogy that studies clouds is called nephrology or cloud physics.

B. Development-

1. Tell students that they are going to learn about four different cloud types. To demonstrate the forming of clouds. Take out the jar and have one of the students tape the black piece of paper onto one side of the jar. Ask another student to pour 2 cm of water into the jar. Light a match and hold it in the jar for a few seconds and then drop it in. Have a student quickly cover the jar. then squeeze the bottle and release it. Have another student shine the flashlight on the jar.

2. Ask the students questions about what happened:
- What did you see in the jar?
- Where did the cloud com from? (the water in the bottom of the jar)
- How did the warm water effect the cloud formation? (caused the water to evaporate and warmed the air, causing it to rise)
Waht rolse did the match and its smoke play in the cloud formation? (gave the water something to condense or grab on to)

3. Explain that clouds are classified by shape and altitude
4. Discuss the type of wather associated with each cloud type

C. Practice-

1. Have students make a chart of the five types of clouds, using cotton balls and blue construction paper. Instruct students to glue the cotton clouds on the paper to apporximate where the cloud type would appear in the sky. Have them use a black marker to include cloud names and a brief description of each.

D. Independent Practice-

1. Give the students a worksheet on the Types of Clouds.
2. The students will be looking at the sky for several days and doing the following observations/predictions. Scored by rubric
- tell the types of clouds that are in the sky
- estimate the percent of sky that is covered by the clouds
- tell what the weather is like today
- make a prediction of what the upcoming weather will be
- take the students outside to observe and record the cloud cover for the day and repeat every day for several days

E. Checking for understanding-

1. Have students use a cause and effect chart to describe the different clouds and the weather associated with each type.
2. have students identify pictures of cloud types, along with descrptions

G. Closure-

1. Students will turn in their worksheets and cause and effect charts for grading
2. Quiz next class period