Students will learn about the principles of cloud formation by witnessing a laboratory demonstration and conducting research on the Internet in cooperative learning groups.
Students will brainstorm on clouds and create a hypothesis on the cloud formation. Based on a brief laboratory experiment that demonstrates cloud formation and Internet research, small groups of students will create reports summarizing the cloud formation process. Each group will present their report to the class and submit a written copy to the teacher. The final reports will then be compared with the initial hypothesis created by the class. For further studies, students can track and research local weather patterns, and study how technology is utilized in predicting weather.
Computers with Internet access, projection device, a wide mouth gallon pickle jar, a heavy duty clear plastic bag, rubber bands, and matches.
Students will be asked to create a T-chart or brainstorm on clouds and cloud formation. Their ideas should be led to focus on what clouds are made of, and on the formulation of a hypotheses on how clouds are formed. The class should be encouraged to reach a consensus cloud formation theory.
A teacher led demonstration will then be made to allow students to witness the formation of a cloud. By following the brief and simple directions below, students will experience cloud formation through an easy experiment.
Cloud Formation Lab Demonstration:
- Place 20 ml of water in jar.
- Drop a lit match into jar.
- Quickly place plastic bag over the mouth of the jar and secure it with a rubber band(s).
- Push the bag into the jar quickly, then pull the bag out; a cloud will form.
Students should be encouraged to record their observations of the demonstration. In small groups, students should discuss cloud formation based on the class hypothesis and the class demonstration. Each group is then challenged to create a report explaining cloud formation. In order to accomplish this task, they should complement their demonstration observations with Internet research on the following websites.
Cloud Classifier Home Page
UIUC Cloud Catalog
Clouds- climate predictions
Having concluded their Internet research, groups are required to create a brief report that summarizes cloud formation. This report should include a diagram and explanation of the class demonstration, information from the Internet, and reference list of the websites that were utilized. Each group should make a brief presentation to the class based on their report. Written reports are to be turned in to the teacher. Groups are encouraged to research additional areas of interest regarding clouds and include such information in their report. Once all groups have made their presentation, the initial class theory on cloud formation shall be addressed and compared with the final theories after their research.
Further research could be conducted regarding local weather. Groups could track their local weather conditions for a few days and hypothesize on cloud coverage according to conditions. Students could also contact and/or visit local meteorologist, or research radar and other technology in weather detection and forecasting.
3D weather web site
Doppler Radar Maps
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