Wind and Clouds Aloft – Background

Watching the sky can be peaceful or exciting, depending on the day or hour. Sometimes the sky is as still as a painting with snow-white clouds on a deep blue canvas. At other times ragged clouds race across the sky, propelled by high winds aloft. Sky-watching may take us on flights of fancy or lead us to ponder why the wind blows, or how clouds take such different shapes, or what wind and clouds can tell us about the weather.

Winds, or flowing air currents, are caused by warm air rising and cool air flowing in to take its place. Because the sun heats the Earth unequally, the atmosphere is heated unequally too, warming and rising in some parts, cooling and sinking in others. This creates areas of low pressure, where the air has Continue reading Wind and Clouds Aloft – Background

Wind and Clouds Aloft – Activities

FOCUS: Winds, or flowing air currents, are caused by warm air rising and cool air flowing in to take its place. Winds pick up moisture from bodies of water, and clouds form when the moisture in them condenses into tiny water droplets. Depending on the conditions of wind, moisture, and temperature aloft, different kinds of clouds take form. Together clouds and wind interact to bring us all kinds of weather. Wind power can be harnessed for our use, with old and new technologies.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about wind and clouds.

Have children lie on their backs, on a tarpaulin if the ground is damp, to observe the wind and clouds. Ask them to close their eyes, and ask them how the wind feels and sounds. Ask them to open their eyes to look at the clouds. Ask them to describe the clouds. Do all of the clouds look the same?

Materials: Optional: large tarpaulin.

Objective: To look for patterns of similarities and differences in photographs of clouds.

Lay out a large tarpaulin and divide children into small groups around each corner. In small groups, have children examine a set of cloud photos, noticing similarities and differences. Then have them sort them into piles, placing similar clouds together. How many different piles did they make Continue reading Wind and Clouds Aloft – Activities

Wind and Clouds Aloft – Puppet Show

Head in the Clouds

Characters: Benjy Bear, Wilma Wind, Chippy Chipmunk, Gus Cumulus, Stanley Stratus, Siri Cirrus

Props:  Cumulonimbus, water spray bottle

Benjy Bear  Brr!  It’s windy and cold today. I thought spring was here, but it feels like winter’s back. Hey, Wilma Wind, why are you so cold today?

Wilma Wind  Because I’m blowing from the north where it’s still freezing. I thought I’d bring you a refreshing blast of polar air. Continue reading Wind and Clouds Aloft – Puppet Show

Wind and Clouds Aloft – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Wind and Clouds Aloft – Standards