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Cloud Unit, Types of Clouds
By – Debbie Haren
Note: This is a four-part lesson idea, with all four parts below.
Objectives: To learn the 5 types of clouds and be able to describe the differences in them. To also learn what a cloud is and how it is formed.
Explain to the class the definition of a cloud. It is a visible collection of a large number of tiny water droplets or ice particles being carried by current of air. Clouds are an indicator of approaching weather. Some clouds indicate weather that is fine and others tell of approaching storms.
Now be sure to tell students the different types of clouds.
1. Cirrus: thin wispy and white. They are located high in the sky and are almost entirely made up of ice particles. These types of clouds often are seen before rain or snow.
2. Cumulus: white, fluffy and round. They are seen on nice days.
3. Cumulonimbus: tall vertical clouds. Often called thunderheads. They usually produce lightening and storms.
4. Stratus: low hanging clouds that are in layers that look like a gray blanket. They look like haze in the sky. These types of clouds can become fog if they get low enough in the air.
5. Nimbostratus: dark clouds that normally are seen when rain or snow is happening all day long.
Explain to the children that there are 3 basic types of clouds: Cirrus, Cumulus and Strauts and there are many examples of them. The word Nimbus in front of any type of word or cloud name means a cloud that produces precipitation.
Procedure for activity:
Materials: blue construction paper, cotton balls, dry tempera paint, water colors and a marker.
Description and examples on a paper of each type of cloud formation for students to look at.
Now, have students do different activities in different centers dealing with cloud formations: One such examples of a center would be to use cotton balls to make the different types of clouds. The tempera paint can be used to lightly cover over the cotton balls with to look like gray or hazy weather. I would suggest gray tempera pain. Just dab a few drops of glue on the cotton ball and sprinkle the dry tempera paint onto the glue. If you do not want to use the tempera paint just use the cotton balls to make thick clouds or tear apart the cotton balls to make thin wispy clouds. Then glue them onto blue paper and then have the students mark at the bottom what type of cloud he/she made and a little bit about that type of cloud. 1 sentence should be enough. If the weather happens to be nice it would also be a good idea to take the students outside and have them look for different types of clouds in the sky. Then have them come back in and make that cloud on their paper.
Review with the students the types of clouds you have been studying. Then pick out books that talk about different types of clouds and weather patterns. Talk with the students about how sailors might have used the clouds to help them in their travels.
Have the children research on the computer using the Internet any types of poems that deal with clouds. Have students work in groups and find a poem that they like and have them copy it off the Internet and then talk about the poem together. Some questions for them to talk about are:
How are the clouds described?
What type of cloud do you think the poet is talking about?
What kind of weather is happening that the poet is describing? Is it stormy, beautiful??
What does the poet compare the clouds or wind too?
Do you think this poem is realistic or fantasy?
Who is the author of the poem?
Do you think the poet likes clouds or not? Why do think this? Give an example from the poem to support your belief.
Have the students write a paragraph about the poem and have them discuss the questions above in the paragraph. Make sure they remember that making a paragraph is not just answering the questions but putting them in the form of a paragraph that can stand by itself and be read by itself and make sense.
Have the students pick a partner and when they are done making a paragraph have the other person proofread their paragraph for grammar and spelling errors. Explain to the students that proof reading is very important when writing a paper or paragraph. Have students then turn in the paragraph for a grade with a copy of the poem they got off the Internet. I think one of the last things they should include on their paragraph is if they liked the poem or not and why.
Talk about and review the different types of cloud formation that can be seen in the sky. Now lets think about weather we have experienced in our lifetime. Can anybody tell about a day they can remember that pertains to the weather that day? For instance a windy day or a very cloudy or foggy day. How did it affect your mood that day? What if it rained all day? How would that effect your day? How would it change what you’re going to wear? Have students talk about a day they remember and what the weather was like and what happened that day. For instance I remember a snowstorm and how the day was very gray, and it looked like you could almost touch the clouds they were all over the place like one big huge cloud!! It snowed for days and ended up being the blizzard of 1976 in Ohio.
Have students write a paragraph and then make a picture to show the weather they are describing in their story. Use markers or crayons to make the picture.
Objectives: To realize how the weather affects what happens to us and how we go about our day. If it is snowy, rainy or just cloudy it affects our mood and our activities for the day!
Talk to the children about how important it is to know what the weather is supposed to be like before traveling somewhere. For instance what is the weather like in Florida right now? Check it out on the Internet and write it down!!!
Paper and markers
Divide the class up into several groups and give them a term such as: rain, wind, snow and storm. Have them put the word you gave them at the top of the poster and then have them use different words to describe different variations of that weather. Or use words to describe how it sounds. Have them make pictures to go with the word. Some examples might be for rain: pitter-patter, sprinkle, downpour, and shower. Some examples for snow might be: flurries, blizzard and snowdrifts and blowing snow. The children will probably get the idea once you give them a few examples for each type of weather. Let them use construction paper and other materials in the room to make the poster 3 d if they would like. For instance little bit of paper rolled and glued onto paper make great hail and snow!!
Objectives: This lesson is to have students learn to use adjectives to describe the weather. The more they use adjectives in everyday language the better they will be at using them in their day-to-day writing!!!
As always HAVE FUN!!
Extension: You could also have the students look through magazines and find different pictures of weather in National Geographic magazines and then glue them onto their posters!!
They students could also go home and talk to their family about weather stories they have to recall. Some might be about rainbows or bad storms. I remember seeing a double rainbow as a child and that is still one of the most fabulous things I have ever seen!!!
E-Mail Debbie Haren!