Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Cruising Through Clouds

Melanie Henderson
Bay District Schools


Students will be able to name the three major types of clouds and describe the characteristics of each cloud.


The student listens for specific details and information (including but not limited to logical sequence and flow of events, story elements, concluding events).

The student uses oral communication to clarify understanding of a topic or ideas (for example, making comments, asking questions to gain information, asking for clarification of unfamiliar words and ideas).


- THE CLOUD BOOK by Tomie dePaola (Holiday House. July 1985)
- One large glass jar
- Hot water
- Ice
- One reclosable plastic bag
- Matches
- 9X12 white paper ( enough for each student)
- Cotton
- Glue
- Pencils and markers


Be sure to have all materials ready when you begin. Heat water in microwave before you begin.


1. Teacher and students begin by making a KWL Chart of Clouds.

2. Inform students to listen carefully as you read THE CLOUD BOOK by Tomie dePaola.

3. After reading the story, ask students questions about the book. Give feedback to answers and record answers on the board.

4. What are the 3 main cloud types?

5. Describe what the clouds look like.

6. How are the clouds alike? Different?

7. Can you touch a cloud? What does it feel like?

8. Have you ever watched a small cloud grow into a bigger cloud?

9. How does a cloud form?

10. Today, I'm going to let you see up close how a cloud forms.

11. Have students sit on the floor by your experiment table and bring their science journals and a pencil.

12. Pour about an inch of hot water into the glass jar.

13. Assign two students to put some ice into a reclosable plastic bag.

14. Light a match and hold it inside the jar for a few seconds.

15. Ask a student to immediately place the bag of ice onto the top of the jar.

16. Have the students watch the jar carefully and record what they see in their science journals.

17. After a few minutes, take the bag off and allow the cloud to rise into the air.

18. What happened inside the jar? Allow students to answer.

19. Can anyone explain how the cloud was formed? Allow for answers.
(Explanation: Water from a water source evaporates into the air forming water vapor. When warm air rises, it starts to chill. The moisture in the air condenses into water we can see. The droplets get very close together and form a cloud. We can see the clouds because the sun shines through them to light them up.

20. What happended to the cloud after it was let out of the jar? Allow for student answers. (Explanation: The cloud disappeared because there was not enough moisture in the room to keep the cloud or water droplets together.

21. Have students return to their seats.

22. Fill in the remaining part of the KWL Chart.


Students will be asked to make drawings of the three major cloud types. ( Cirrus- a thin, white wispy cloud, Cumulus - dense cloud with flat base and rounded mounds billowing upward, and Stratus - low-lying, grayish, fog-like cloud.) Also, students must write a sentence describing each cloud. Students may use markers and cotton for their project. Projects will be posted around the room when completed.
Students will be asked to memorize the information for a later evaluation. For this project, students may refer to the KWL Chart, a cloud chart hung on a bulletin board or their science text. Students may also, refer to the book itself to see the clouds.


Feeling a Cloud

- Small Mirrors kept frozen for at least 24 hours

1. Have a minute or two discussion on what a cloud feels like.
2. Review what clouds are made of and how they are formed.
3. Have students describe in detail how a cloud would feel on their face or arms.
4. Pass out mirrors. Instruct students not to touch them until you say go.
5. Once all students have one, let students touch the mirror. Discuss what it feels like.
6. Let students know that clouds feel the same way. ( Cold, wet, moist)
7. Can you name anything else that looks and feels this way? Discuss with students. ( Fog, Dew)
8. Read the poem on clouds from Amy Koss's book. - WHERE DO FISH GO IN WINTER? by Amy Koss (Price Stern Sloan Pub. May 1988)

Web Links

Web supplement for Cruising Through Clouds
Cloud Types and Pictures

Web supplement for Cruising Through Clouds
Cloud Description and Pictures

Web supplement for Cruising Through Clouds
Cloud Description and Pictures

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