Design a Cloud Chart
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: 3- 6
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Clouds come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Charting the clouds will help you classify them into their different types and to recognize their relationship to each other in the atmosphere.

Large sheet of tagboard Blue paint
Black paint Roll of cotton batting
Felt pen or crayon Rubber cement
Black construction paper  

Use the cloud imaging section of the Digital Atlas of Idaho. To get there: Click on Atlas Home, Climatology, then on Cloud Imaging. Scroll down so you can click on the links to see pictures of the clouds, use these pictures as a model for your class when making their clouds.

Follow this guide:
High clouds: (20,000 feet)
Low clouds: (below 6500 feet)
Middle clouds: (6,500 - 20,000 feet)
Clouds with a lot of vertical development:

Paint the tagboard blue so that it looks like the sky. Draw an altitude scale in feet at one side of the chart. Cut from black construction paper silhouettes or shapes of well-known mountains and the tallest buildings. Paste these silhouettes on the bottom of the chart, making sure that they extend to the proper heights.

Unroll a fresh pack of cotton. Cut the different shapes or forms of clouds out of the cotton. Add a little black paint on the thunderclouds. Use rubber cement to attach the clouds to the chart at their proper altitudes or heights. Label the clouds either by printing the name of each cloud directly under it or on a slip of paper that is glued over the cloud. It is easy to identify clouds using the chart.

Handouts/Activity links:
These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
Cloud Imaging

Related Lesson Topics:
Climatology: Climatology

Lesson plan by Dr. Helen Challand and Elizabeth Brandt with permission from Science Activities from A to Z.
Illustrations by Herb Rudd, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: