To continue my son's introduction to the Earth, today we talked about Clouds. This clouds activity is perfect for preschoolers and a great addition to a weather unit.
Cloud Activity for Preschoolers
Read this Book: Clouds by Marion Dane Bauer
Do these Experiments: How Do We Know that Air Exists?
The book I mentioned above is a perfect introduction to clouds. It taught us about the 3 types of clouds:
- Cirrus (wispy)
- Stratus (layered)
- Cumulus (puffy)
Types of Clouds
In the early 19th century, an Englishman named Luke Howard classified clouds using Latin based on their appearance. So, once you learn Latin names, you'll easily be able to classify the clouds you see. For example, cirrus is derived from cirro, which means curly or fibrous. Then we have stratus derived from stratto meaning layers or sheets. Finally, we have cumulus or cumulo meaning piled or heaped.
How Do Clouds Form?
Clouds form with changing moisture from a gas to liquid through a process called convection.
According to Live Science, “As solar radiation heats the ground and the air immediately above it, the warm air becomes lighter and the flow of air carries this warm air upward. As the air rises, the temperature decreases and so does the amount of water vapor that the air can hold. This vapor rapidly condenses and soon clouds — composed of countless billions of tiny water droplets or ice crystals — result. These droplets are exceedingly small, averaging about 10 microns in diameter (a micron is one-millionth of a meter; ice crystals are much larger but less concentrated). Virtually all types of clouds and precipitation are due to rising air.”
Learning about Clouds Activity
Learning about Clouds Approach
- Review: We reviewed the part of the book referencing the three types of clouds.
- Language: I used language to describe the scientific terms and tried to find analogies in our concrete world (e.g. wispy = my hair, puffy = shaving cream when it comes out of the can, layered = what Seattle clouds look like most of the time but also like a layered cake or dip).
- Work: We worked together to break apart the cotton balls (or not) to make them into the shape we needed to match the type of cloud. The Cirrus was a great fine motor exercise as we tore and stretched the cotton balls. The Stratus and Cumulus were less challenging although my son had the brilliant idea of stacking the cotton balls to make them “really puffy, mama”. Good point.
- Then we squeezed glue onto the construction paper and applied the cotton balls to match the type of cloud.
Here is the final product. A fun visual for all of us. I did the 3-period lesson on these new words with my son.
Thank you for reading today. I hope that we inspired you. Please leave a comment, I love hearing from you. Check out my Montessori Science Pack!