How Can You Make a Cloud?

Grade Levels: 3 - 5

Excerpt from Hands-On Science.

Objective

Use this activity to help your students understand some of the many variables that must be taken into account in a study of weather and to appreciate its importance in our lives.

Materials Needed

• One 2-liter bottle with cap
• Kitchen matches
• Water

Procedure


1. Put a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of water into the bottle.
2. Light a match. Hold it down in the bottle to make smoke.
3. Put the lid on the bottle.
4. Shake the bottle to add moisture to the air inside the bottle.
5. Squeeze the bottle, then release it quickly and observe what is inside the bottle.
6. Squeeze and release several times. What’s happening inside the bottle?
7. Share your observations and ideas with others who are interested in this activity.

For Problem Solvers

Experiment with different temperatures of water and different amounts of smoke in the bottle for this activity. Also, do some research and learn all you can about how clouds form in the atmosphere. What causes changes in pressure in the atmosphere, and how does this affect temperature? And what do pressure and temperature have to do with cloud formation?

Teacher Information

Air pressure increases the temperature of the air. As air temperature increases, the air is able to contain more moisture. Squeezing the bottle increases the temperature of the air inside the bottle. Releasing the pressure on the bottle reduces the temperature of the air and decreases the ability of the air to hold moisture. The smoke particles that are suspended in the air act as condensation nuclei, and moisture condenses, or collects, around them. Each time you release the pressure a cloud forms, and when you squeeze the bottle the cloud disappears.

Smoke and dust particles in the atmosphere act as condensation nuclei when moisture content is high and temperature drops. Changes in atmospheric pressure create changes in atmospheric temperature, similar to the way these changes occur in the mini-atmosphere in the bottle.

If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus

Highlights

Back to School
Get ready for Back to School! Whether you've returned to the classroom already, or have a couple weeks left of summer break, we have the materials to make those first days easier. Check out our list of Top 10 Things Every Teacher Needs, Bulletin Board Ideas, plus our collections of Icebreakers, Behavior Management Resources, Graphic Organizers, and much, much, more!

2016 Presidential Elections
Election season is here. Help your students understand the process of our national elections, from the President down to local representatives, with our election activities. Read short biographies of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), explore mock election ideas, create presidential trading cards, learn election vocabulary, play election bingo and more!

September Calendar of Events
September is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum! Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Suicide Prevention Week (9/4-10), Labor Day (9/5), International Literacy Day (9/8), Grandparents Day (9/11), Patriot Day (9/11), Author Agatha Christie's Birthday (9/15/1890), Stepfamily Day (9/16), U.S. Constitution Week (9/17-23), International Day of Peace (9/21), Autumn Begins (9/22), and Banned Books Week (9/25-10/1). Plus, celebrate Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Classical Music Month, Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15-10/15), Hunger Action Month, Hunger Action Month, Library Card Sign-Up Month, National Sickle Cell Month all September long!