How Clouds Form
Students learn about the ingredients needed to make a cloud, and the role that air pressure and temperature play in cloud formation.
Engage students by having them consider: what does it take to make a cloud?
- How to Make Clouds Indoors: The Art of Berndnaut Smilde. Berndnaut Smilde is an artist who makes clouds indoors and then photographs the results. Have students investigate and share what Berndnaut Smilde does to make a cloud. Discuss whether his way of making clouds is the same or different than the way clouds form naturally. Explain to students that, in this activity they will make a cloud to learn what a cloud needs to form.
Explore making clouds with one of the following activities to explore how pressure and temperature affect cloud formation.
- Create a Portable Cloud
- Cloud in a Bottle from the Little Shop of Physics
- An Everyday Science Video: Little Shop of Physics does the cloud in a bottle experiment and explains how it works
- Tips for Teachers Video demonstration of a Cloud in a Bottle
- Background readings:
Evaluate student learning about the process of cloud formation.
- Have students write a paragraph about what conditions would be needed to get a huge cloud to form in the classroom.
- Answer: Students should mention the need for conditions in the classroom's air to be right for a cloud to form. The air in the classroom would need to contain water vapor, that there would need to be particles in the air around which water can condensate, and that the air pressure would need to decrease to get the droplets of water to form in the air. Students may also mention that warmer temperatures might aid cloud formation since they could get more water vapor into the air.