How Clouds Change


Students learn that clouds change over time.

Engage students with changing clouds.

  • Observe Clouds: A video of time-lapse clouds from PBS Learning Media (Note: After viewing three times, you must create a free login.)

    • Describe that the video was sped up to show what happens to clouds throughout a day. Have students describe their observations and write questions about why clouds change over time.

Explore: Have students investigate how clouds change over time.

Clouds in Sky
  • Through an interactive dialog, encourage students to ask questions and develop hypotheses about why clouds change. Remind them that there can be many different factors that affect how clouds change over time. Refer back to the Cloud in a Bottle activity - what ingredients were needed to make a cloud?
  • Drawing Clouds Inside the Lines: An activity that gets students to make cloud observations over time, analyze the data, and then present it graphically.
    • Consider doing The GLOBE Program's Estimating Cloud Cover activity beforehand if your students are familiar with percentages. This can help make their cloud observations over time more qualtitative.

Evaluate as students share results and draw conclusions

  • Have students share their results by graphically representing their data through a bar chart or graphic organizer. Students can show the amount of cloud in their section of sky via a bar chart, or create a way to graphically organize their drawings according to the date and time that they made the observations. If you provide atmospheric data such as temperature, pressure, and wind speed, students can incorporate that into their graphic organizers as well.
  • Encourage students to draw conclusions about how clouds change. Ask students what other questions they have generated during this investigation.