Observing Clouds


Students learn how to observe and describe clouds.

Engage students with cloud types through a storybook or by browsing photos of cloud types.

People holding up newspapers outside

Explore by bringing students outside and identify the clouds in the sky.

  • Provide students with one or more of these printable cloud identification guides.
  • Note that sometimes the clouds are complex mixtures of types and may be harder to identify. Have students make their best guess and be able to explain why they chose a particular type of cloud.
  • GLOBE Observer Clouds: With a free app, students can be citizen scientists and send their cloud observations to NASA's GLOBE Program!
  • Head in the Clouds: Directions from the US National Weather Service describing how to facilitate cloud observations with students.
  • Safety: Remind students to never look directly at the Sun.

Evaluate student learning back in the classroom with one of the following activities.

  • Cloudscape: This GLOBE activity gets students to create a guide to cloud types and their height in the atmosphere using art and craft materials. Have each student create their own cloudscape to assess understanding of the appearance of different clouds.
  • The Art of Clouds: In this interactive presentation students identify cloud types in well know landscape paintings. This can serve as an assessment of student learning about cloud types.