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Sky and Cloud Windows

Adapted with permission from The Weather Channel.

Is today sunny or overcast? Is there wind, rain, or snow? No matter where you live, weather shapes your life. What’s happening in the sky can determine how you dress, what you eat, where you spend your time, and when you work—or play.

The science of the sky encompasses Earth and space science (from the solar system to the water cycle), physical science (from heat and energy to motion and forces), and science in personal and social perspectives (from the environment to global climate change).

In this activity, students will conduct experiments or participate in demonstrations to answer questions about sky and weather phenomena. Students also will analyze and present data.

Grade Level: 3-8

Safety
Keep materials away from your eyes and mouth. Wear sunscreen if outside for an extended period. Wear sunglasses on a sunny day. Be aware of the weather, and check for ticks after returning to the classroom.

Materials

  • 8 1/2” x 11” poster board
  • Paint chips of a variety of sky colors
  • Safety scissors and glue
  • Notebook and pen
  • Digital camera and printer (optional)

Procedure

  1. Fold the poster board in half lengthwise and cut out a center rectangle, leaving about a 2-inch frame.

  2. Cut apart paint chips in shades of dark to light blue and white to dark gray. Glue these chips around both sides of the frame (see illustration).

  3. Go outside for “Sky Checks.” Use the frames as references when you look up at the sky. (Remember: Always look away from the sun!) These sky and cloud windows will focus your sky observations and help you determine and keep track of sky and cloud colors and changes.

  4. Every time you do a Sky Check, write down your observations in your notebook. Be sure to include the date and time for each Sky Check, the amount of cloud cover, the types of clouds, amount of wind, and any precipitation.

  5. If you have a digital camera, you can take a picture of the sky through your frame. Download these onto your computer and be sure to put the date and time when you took each picture. Taking pictures is just another way of collecting and recording your sky observations.

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