Water Cycle - Atmosphere (K)
Post Lab 

  • Exploring how clouds are formed.
  • Demonstrating how clouds are formed in the atmosphere. 
  • atmosphere
  • clouds
  • jar
  • dish or margarine tub that fits on top of jar
  • hot water
  • ice
  • refresher (spray)

Students make a cloud in the classroom.


Clouds may be very mysterious to children. If asked to look at the sky, they can “float” with the clouds.   They can see the clouds move and don’t know if the wind is moving them or if the Earth is moving so fast that they just appear to move. Children wonder how a cloud can get in the way of the Sun warming the Earth.  A shadow can be seen tracing the path of the cloud.

Cartoons and books portrait clouds as soft, pillow-like substances in the sky.  But that is so very far from the truth!


In this demonstration you will illustrate the major components of cloud formation.  You can make a cloud by following the instructions below.  Describe each ingredient as you go.  Let them know that the cloud is sometimes hard to see (but having students seeing you make a cloud will help them remember how clouds are formed.)

  1. Boil water.  Fill a jar with one third hot water.
  2. Tell students that the steam represents the water rising from lakes and oceans.  Tell them that the ocean is not hot, we are just speeding up the process. This is an experiment.
  3. Spray a little refresher into the jar.  This represents the dust in the air.  Cloud droplets form around particles.
  4. Put a dish or margarine tub on top of the jar and put ice in it. See diagram for set up. This represents the cooling high up in the air.
  5. You will see some faint swirling of the steam inside the jar.  Have the students look closely at the clouds. 
  6. Once you get the feel for making clouds, make a few stations for the students to observe the clouds.  Refer to this experiment as a cloud in a bottle.  Tell students if they want to make a cloud at home, they must ask their parents to help. 

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