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Grade: 1-2
Subject: Science

#4707. Weather and Clouds

Science, level: 1-2
Posted 04/10/2013 by Rose (Rose).
La Feria ISD, W. B. Green JH, La Feria, USA
Materials Required: For cloud mobile: cardstock templates of clouds, scissors, cotton balls, glue, string, dowel rod, ch
Activity Time: This thematic unit on weather (clouds) takes
Concepts Taught: Weather and Clouds

A. Hook
This 1st grade lesson plan on the clouds and wind starts with a group discussion. Teacher will show the students a video that includes a song and cartoon about weather called "How's the Weather?" at . The teacher will hold up cards for visualization of the weather words in the song as the children listen to the song.

B. Teacher Input (I do)
Teacher will ask several questions regarding clouds and cloud formation, assessing for students' prior knowledge of clouds and for misconceptions through informal discussion of clouds. The teacher will guide the informal discussion with the following questions and create a KWL chart, filling out the K (what we know) based on students' responses to discussion questions and then fill out the W (what you want to know) based on students' interest:

What are clouds? The teacher will listen to student responses to check for prior knowledge.
Teacher will explain that clouds are a large collection of very tiny droplets of water or ice crystals. The droplets are so small and light that they can float in the air.

How are clouds formed?
The teacher will explain that all air contains water, but near the ground it is usually in the form of an invisible gas called water vapor. When warm air rises, it expands and cools. Cool air can't hold as much water vapor as warm air, so some of the vapor condenses onto tiny pieces of dust that are floating in the air and forms a tiny droplet around each dust particle. When billions of these droplets come together they become a visible cloud.

Why are clouds white?
The teacher will explain that clouds are white because they reflect the light of the sun. Light is made up of colors of the rainbow and when you add them all together you get white. The sun appears a yellow color because it sends out more yellow light than any other color. Clouds reflect all the colors the exact same amount so they look white.

Why do clouds turn gray?
The teacher will explain that clouds are made up of tiny water droplets or ice crystals, usually a mixture of both. The water and ice scatter all light, making clouds appear white. If the clouds get thick enough or high enough all the light above does not make it through, hence the gray or dark look. Also, if there are lots of other clouds around, their shadow can add to the gray or multicolored gray appearance
The teacher will introduce 4 main types of clouds using visuals and posting the cloud types and pictures on the science world wall for students to access throughout this lesson/unit: nimbus cloud, cirrus cloud, cumulus cloud, and stratus cloud.
In their reading circle, the teacher will read The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola to the students. Again, the teacher will assess for misconceptions during the reading discussion of this book.
C. Check for Understanding
Students will make to cloud mobile. The model will help them to identify the different types of clouds by just looking up. This science activity turns meteorology into art and brings outdoor learning inside. The teacher will assess the students as they create their cloud mobile to make sure they are creating the correct model to accurately represent each cloud type.
D. Grouping (we do)
Teacher will prepare and cut the shapes of each kind of cloud out of cardstock paper. Students will glue cotton balls to both sides of each shape to make it look more like the cloud it represents. Students should make each cloud look like as close to their standard description. Tips: For a cumulus cloud, have students bunch up lots of cotton balls to make it fluffy. For a cirrus cloud, have students stretch out the cotton balls to make them thin and wispy. Students can use a little gray paint (just mix a little black into white) to make some of the clouds gray. When all the clouds are assembled and the glue is dry, the teacher will make a small hole in the top of each shape. Teacher will tie a piece of string through each hole. Teacher will explain to the students that stratus clouds should have the longest string, since they're closest to Earth, and that cirrus clouds should have the shortest string, since they're the highest clouds. Students will tie each piece of string to a dowel rod. Teacher will help students to tie a piece of string around the middle of the dowel, and use it to hang their mobile.
Students will say the names of the clouds with the teacher. The teacher will assess to see if students are able to recall the names on their own after going through the index of the story. Teacher will assess students' descriptions of the clouds to see if they match the name of the cloud. The teacher will write students' descriptions on the board or on chart paper for students to examine. Teacher will examine the mobiles to check that their cotton pictures correspond with the correct name and description. The teacher will assess if students have depicted the cloud type creatively and made it resemble the descriptions in the story.
Students will now explore wind. Teacher will assess for misconceptions by asking the following questions in an informal discussion.

What is wind?
Wind is air in motion. It is produced by the uneven heating of the earth's surface by the sun. Since the earth's surface is made of various land and water formations, it absorbs the sun's radiation unevenly. Two factors are necessary to specify wind: speed and direction.

What causes the wind to blow?
As the sun warms the Earth's surface, the atmosphere warms too. Some parts of the Earth receive direct rays from the sun all year and are always warm. Other places receive indirect rays, so the climate is colder. The warm air, which weighs less than cold air, rises. Then cool air moves in and replaces the rising warm air. This movement of air is what makes the wind blow.

E. Independent Practice (I do)
The teacher will explain to the students that weather vanes are used to observe wind direction. The weather vane will be placed outside the classroom near the two posts/string set up.

Teacher will have group students into groups of 4, for safety purposes. However, each student will be responsible to complete their own observation sheet. Each group will number their socks in number order beginning from 1 to the last number. Teacher will now choose the skip counting grouping that needs to be addressed: two, fives, tens, etc. The group will use their marker to write their skip counting number on their sock. The socks labeled in ones will be hung in the classroom. The socks with the skip counting numbers will be hung outdoors on the two posts/string using clothespins. Teacher will take students outdoors each day and observe cloud formations and weather conditions, either in the morning or in the afternoon for 10 school days. The students will observe in what direction the socks are blowing during the outdoor excursion: North, East, South, or West. Students will note the position of the clouds: high, medium, low. The teacher will also read the temperature outdoors each time the class goes outdoors to observe the color of the sky, shapes of the clouds, weather conditions such as windy, cold, rain, or hot.

Each student will document their wind observations on their cloud and wind observation sheet. Students will also observe for cloud type visible in the sky during their outdoor excursion. Students will make predictions about the weather and record their predictions on their cloud and wind observation sheets.

F. Closure
Students will watch a video about graphing at They will describe the clouds they saw and explain their predictions. Students will work in groups to make a bar graph of which cloud type was observed the most during the 5 days, least visible, etc. Students will use their cloud data observation sheets and will use the website to create their bar graph.
Teacher will ask the same questions during the K (what you know) section of KWL chart/discussion and this time complete the L (what we learned) section of the KWL chart so students can have a visual organizer of KWL.
The teacher will read the book The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins to the class. Students will search for rhyming pairs. The teacher will challenge the students to identify all of the rhyming pairs they hear. The students will choose 2 sets words that rhyme and then draw a picture of each word in their Reading Journal as a Writing/Language Arts assignment.
The teacher may allow students to buddy read the following books for elaboration about wind and clouds:
Students will visit weather websites to learn about extreme weather involving winds and rain: ,,,
Teacher will read It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Green Shaw. Teacher will distribute sheets of dark or royal blue construction paper. Students will fold their construction paper in half width-wise. Students will open paper and drop small amounts of white paint. They will refold the construction paper, pressing paper so that paint spreads out. They will open the paper. The teacher will ask students to recall the 4 major types of clouds and ask students:
What color are the clouds?
How high are they in the sky?
Which clouds are associated with fair weather and with bad weather?
Do you see anything in your "cloud"? (Let paint dry).
On a writing sheet, the students will finish sentence
"My cloud looked like ________."
Teacher will help students attach the writing sheet onto their construction paper under the cloud the student made. At this point, the teacher will introduce the word "nephelococcygia" (ne-fee'-lu-koe'-ku-jee'-u) as the scientific terminology for "cloud watching" or "seeing pictures in the clouds."
Teacher will informally assess during group and independent activities. Teacher will have student create unit portfolio about topic that includes samples of written work, art projects, recorded observations/data sheets, and unit exams/CBAs if used during the unit as checking for comprehension. Teacher will maintain anecdotal records of observations made about each student's general work habits, preferred learning style, cooperative learning experiences, and adaptability to the scientific method.

Nimbus Cloud: a dark grey clouds. Cumulonimbus clouds can bring heavy rain, snow, hail, lightning and even tornadoes. The anvil or top part of the cloud usually points in the direction the storm is moving.

Cirrus Cloud: whispy white clouds that usually have ice crystals and are the highest up in the sky. By watching the movement of cirrus clouds you can tell from which direction weather is approaching. When you see cirrus clouds, it usually indicates that a change in the weather will occur within 24 hours.

Cumulus Cloud: grey and puffy clouds that are lower than most clouds. They usually form in groups. If you see cumulus clouds on a warm, sticky morning, there might be thunderstorms late in the afternoon.

Stratus Cloud: grayish clouds that often cover the entire sky. These clouds look like fog that doesn't reach the ground, and drizzle sometimes falls out of these clouds.

Name: -_____________________________________________
Cloud and Wind Observation Sheet

Circle the main type of clouds you OBSERVE each day.

Cirrus Cumulus Stratus Nimbus

Circle the main direction of the wind you OBSERVE or FEEL each day.
PREDICT what the weather will be the next day.

I OBSERVED the cloud today was - I OBSERVED the wind blowing the socks --
North, South, East, West I PREDICT the weather tomorrow will be. . .

Rainy, hot, cool, snowy.
Day 1 Cirrus, Cumulus, Stratus, Nimbus
Day 2 Cirrus, Cumulus, Stratus, Nimbus
Day 3 Cirrus, Cumulus, Stratus, Nimbus
Day 4 Cirrus, Cumulus, Stratus, Nimbus
Day 5 Cirrus, Cumulus, Stratus, Nimbus