Exploring Clouds




Materials needed:

Books: It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

Now I Know Clouds by Roy Wandelmaier

Blue construction paper (8.5 x 11 sheets) for trifolds

More blue construction paper, cut into small squares or  rectangles (about 4 x 6 inches)

Cotton balls

Markers (for decorating and labeling trifold)

Glue sticks

Small paintbrushes

White paint

Time needed: 30 minutes

Engage: Show the cover of the book, It Looked Like Spilt Milk. Tell students to think about what “it” is while you are reading. Read the book, and on the last page, have students guess what “it” is by pausing and letting them fill in the blank for “It was just a _______ in the sky.” Ask students if they have ever looked up at the sky and pretended to “see” creatures or items in the sky. Have them share a few of the imaginary items they see when they look at clouds.

Tell them that today they will be learning about types of clouds. Ask them to share some of the facts they may already know about clouds.

Explore: Read the book, Now I Know Clouds, stopping to show pictures and ask students questions about the differences they notice in the clouds. At the end, see if students can name the three types of clouds they learned about in the book, and flip back through the pages to review them and their characteristics. Tell them that now they will be making

their own trifold pamphlet to share information about clouds with others, and family at home.

Have students get out glue sticks and markers, then hand out one large piece of blue construction paper and one cotton ball to each student. Show them how to fold the piece of paper into a trifold pamphlet.

Explain: Students will show what they learned about clouds and cloud types by putting a different cloud type on each section on the inside of the pamphlet. They will “make” the clouds by pulling apart the cotton ball, to shape or stretch it into the different cloud types, then glue each type on a section. Have students use words and bulleted lists to give information about each cloud (i.e.: Cirrus- white, curly, high in the sky, weather will change). If students need help with words, brainstorm some of the words to describe the clouds, and write the words randomly around the board so that students choose where to put them in the pamphlet.

Have students use the remaining bits of their cotton balls to glue a cloud on the front of the pamphlet, and give the pamphlet a title. The middle section on the back of the pamphlet can be used to explain what “nimbus” means, and the last section on the back can be the “written by” page.


Ideas for Elaborating Further (Optional):

If time allows, give each student a small blue rectangle or square of paper and a small paintbrush. Put a container with slightly watered-down tempera paint on each desk grouping, and tell students to brush or dot their small squares with the white paint. After they finish putting paint on the square, have them fold the piece of paper in half (hamburger or hot dog style- let them choose). Let them admire and name their cloud creations!

Posted by Kim Angell, Children’s Assistant