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GLOBE: Observing, Describing and Identifying Clouds

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Students observe, sketch, and describe clouds on their own before learning to identify cloud types by comparing photos of different clouds to their sketches.

This activity takes two 50-minute class periods.

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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • As an opportunity to integrate science process skills into the cloud observations, the instructor could ask students to record the weather and what the sky looked like during their cloud observations. Then ask students to look at several days worth of data and ask them what they notice, and what they wonder? Do they see any patterns or any relationship between the types of clouds and type of weather?
  • Pair observations with some of the activities in the Further Investigations section. For example, the Cloud Watch activity.

About the Content

  • This lesson has students make observations of clouds by drawing what they see and using words to describe their observations.
  • Students then compare their drawings and descriptions to photos of the different types of clouds in order to identify the types of clouds they have observed.
  • Students correlate their descriptions to the standard classifications, enhancing their scientific vocabulary.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • This lesson will likely appeal to a wide variety of learners, as it encourages students to get outside and make observations of clouds.
  • It places an emphasis on having students explore words in order to describe what the clouds above them look like. Students can be as general or detailed as they would like, depending on their age group.
  • Adaptations for younger and older students are provided, along with some strong extension activities that can further serve to engage diverse learners, including games.
  • Instructors can easily adjust the amount and detail of content based on learner's needs and integrate various parts of the scientific process, as needed.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Curriculum is very clear, short, and easy to follow, and is divided up into sections for easy reference.
  • Cloud charts with a brief description of the clouds and what types of weather they are associated with are provided.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Entered the Collection: August 2020 Last Reviewed: June 2020

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