Objective: Children will observe and draw cloud formations.‹ Return to Theme
What You Will Need
- White drawing paper – 1 sheet per child
- Pencils – 1 per child
- Crayons – 1 blue and 1 gray or black per child
- Pictures of cirrus, cumulus, and stratus clouds
What To Do
Note: Choose a day when clouds are present to perform this activity.
- Display the pictures of each type of cloud and discuss information about clouds with the children (see Did You Know?).
- Take the children outside and have them look up at the clouds in the sky.
- Ask them what shape they see in the clouds; for instance a train, fish, or maybe a dinosaur.
- Discuss how the clouds are moving (see Did You Know?).
- Ask the children if they can tell what the day’s weather will be by looking at the clouds (see Did You Know?).
- Upon returning to the classroom, have the children draw a picture of the shape they saw in the clouds.
Guiding Student Inquiry
- Describe what you see in the sky.
- Explain what clouds are.
- Describe how the clouds are moving.
- Make a prediction about what type of weather you think we can expect today.
Explore, Extend & Integrate
- Make cloud dough for the children to play with. You will need 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil. Mix together and let the children play with it. Add a variety of utensils and shaped containers for them to experiment with.
- Make cloud pictures with white paint on dark blue paper. Allow the children to use pipettes to squeeze dollops of white paint on one half of a sheet of paper, then fold the paper in half and rub over the folded paper to spread the paint. Open the sheet of paper to see the cloud picture.
Check for Children’s Understanding
- Could children explain that clouds are a collection of tiny water droplets?
- Could children describe the clouds moving with the wind?
- Could children make a weather prediction based on the type of clouds in the sky?
Did You Know?
A cloud is a large collection of extremely tiny droplets of water. The droplets are so tiny they can float together in the air. A cloud will float as long as the cloud is warmer than the outside air around it. Clouds cannot move by themselves; the wind moves them. Although the main types of clouds are cirrus, cumulus, and stratus clouds, there are a wide range of different types of clouds. Stratus clouds are flat and look like layers. Cumulus clouds are puffy and look like cotton. Cirrus clouds are thin and wispy and are high in the sky.
Different types of clouds and cloud patterns are good indicators of the type of weather to expect on a particular day. They can appear to be different colors ranging from white to gray to grayish blue. For instance, dark, gray, wet-looking clouds are usually present during rainy or snowy days. White, wispy clouds are generally present during pleasant, sunny days. Weather affects practically everything we do. Weather forecasters, called meteorologists, watch weather patterns over time to predict or tell us what type of weather is expected.
- cloud – a white or gray mass of small drops of water high in the sky above the Earth.
- weather – the conditions outside, including temperature, rain, snow, and other things.
- prediction – a statement that something might happen or is expected to happen.
- cirrus – a type of cloud that usually appears in the form of strings or threads.
- stratus – a low-lying, extended cloud formation with a relatively flat bottom.
- cumulus – a large, fluffy white cloud with a flat bottom.
Take blankets or large towels outside for the children to lie on while observing the clouds.
- Clouds (Lets-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Anne Rockwell
- Shapes in the Sky by Josepha Serman
- Little Cloud by Eric Carle
- It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw
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Common Core State
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
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There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.