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Where do clouds come from?
Stormy Skies Unit | Lesson 1 of 5

Where do clouds come from?

Stormy Skies Unit | Lesson 1 of 5
Lesson narration:
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Discuss:

If you touched a cloud, what do you think it would feel like? Why do you think it would feel that way?

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Discuss:

What did you notice as the skydiver fell through the cloud?

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Discuss:

What do you think would happen if you took a cup of warm water, but instead of letting any of the water gas escape or go up out of the glass, you trapped it?

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🎉 That’s it for this lesson! How did it go?
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## Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.

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# Disappearing Puddles

On a warm sunny morning, pour some water on the pavement to make a puddle. Mark the circumference of the puddle with a chalk line. Check on the puddle — once an hour, if you can manage it. Each time you check it, draw a new outline around the puddle.

• Where did the water go?
• If the weather was cold, do you think the puddle would disappear faster or slower? Why do you think that?
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# Two Cups

Fill two identical clear plastic cups with water. Mark the water level in both glasses. Cover one with a lid (or plastic wrap), then put them both in a warm spot — on a sunny window ledge or near the heater.

Ask your students what they think will happen. Check on the glasses every day for the next week.

If you want to explore further, try this follow-up experiment. Start with the same two glasses, but leave both uncovered. Put one cup in a warm spot and the other in a cooler spot. Ask your students what they think will happen.

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# Discuss

Now that your students know about water vapor, discuss what's going on in these situations.

• When you take a hot shower, why does the mirror in the bathroom fog up?
• On a cold day, why do you sometimes see your breath?
• Early in the morning, why is the grass sometimes covered with drops of dew?

Here's what we think:

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cloud

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a collection of tiny water droplets that are visible in the air
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matter

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anything that takes up space; can be in different forms such as solid, liquid, or gas
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states of matter

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the different forms of matter that include solid, liquid, and gas
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solid

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a state of matter, such as water when it is frozen ice
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liquid

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a state of matter, such as water when you can pour it
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gas

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a state of matter, such as water when it is steam
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water vapor

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water when it is a gas, such as steam
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rain

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water drops that fall from clouds
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fog

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a cloud near the ground
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evaporation

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the process of a liquid changing to a gas
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condensation

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the process of a gas changing to a liquid
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melt

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when a solid turns into a liquid, such as when ice melts into water
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boil

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to heat a liquid until it bubbles and turns quickly into a gas
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experiment

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a test used to discover new information about a question
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observe

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to pay close attention to something
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Image & Video Credits

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Exploration
clouds by Unsplash / cropped, adjusted color
cloud in summer by zsoravecz / cropped, adjusted color
sheep clouds by followtheseinstructions , used under CC BY-SA / cropped, adjusted color, flipped
large cloud by Mark Ahsmann , used under CC BY-SA / cropped, adjusted color
cloud shape by ikinitip / cropped, adjusted color
room cloud 2 by Berndnaut Smilde / None
room cloud 1 by Berndnaut Smilde / None
what are clouds? by abogawat / cropped, adjusted color
bonfire by Tomasz Sienicki , used under CC BY-SA / heavily modified
cottoncandy by cyclonebill , used under CC BY-SA / cropped, adjusted color
cloud marco by Jeff Kubina , used under CC BY-SA / heavily modified
Madame Recamier by Jacques-Louis David / heavily modified
hand by Steph684 / heavily modified
mountains behind clouds by Unsplash / cropped, altered aspect ratio
fog by MichaelDiederich , used under CC BY-SA / cropped
foggy street by Cablekid , used under CC BY-SA / cropped, adjusted color
water drops by JB Kilpatrick , used under CC BY / cropped, adjusted color
skydivers by Laura Hadden , used under CC BY / heavily modified
skydiving by Peter Shankman
cloud time lapse by viperior , used under CC BY / cropped, adjusted speed
ocean by kaboompics.com
evaporating puddle by thatwimpydeer / trimmed, adjusted speed
boiling water by LIFEOFVIDS , used under CC BY / altered aspect ratio
pot by Frank C. Müller, Baden-Baden , used under CC BY-SA / heavily modified
ice cube by Pierre (Rennes) , used under CC BY / cropped
water glass by PublicDomainPictures / adjusted color, modified
water evaporation by Conor Shore
droplets by Pink Sherbet Photography , used under CC BY / heavily modified
drinking water by Amanda Mills
sprinklers by Beth Coll Anderson , used under CC BY / cropped
water spray by D Jabi , used under CC BY / heavily modified
waves breaking by Saltvand , used under CC BY / adjusted color
waterfall by Luke Price , used under CC BY / cropped
clouds over field by pcdazero / adjusted color
mist by PublicDomainPictures / heavily modified
squirt bottle by Anne Swoboda , used under CC BY-SA / heavily modified
humidifier by 29cm , used under CC BY-SA / heavily modified
Activity
pencil by Charm / cut out
pencil #2 by JohannPoufPouf / heavily modified
Lesson narration:

Weather & Climate

Water Cycle & States of Matter

3-ESS2-1

Activity Prep

Print Prep

In this lesson, students examine clues about how clouds look and feel to discover what they’re made of and how they form. In the activity, Gas Trap, students add hot water to clear cups to observe evaporation firsthand. They observe the condensation of the water vapor on the sides of the cup. They use this model to understand how clouds are formed.

Preview activity
Exploration

16 mins

Hands-On Activity

Wrap-Up