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Clouds Protocol

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

Students observe which types of clouds are visible, how much of the sky is covered by clouds, and the opacity of clouds. They also report on surface and sky conditions, to complement views from satellites.

This activity will take approximately two 45 minute class periods with additional 10 minute data collection periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

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Energy Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Energy Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

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

  • This curriculum may require, at the very least, a several week-long commitment to data collection. Ideally, students would collect data daily (or every other day) over the course of a school year.
  • Data collection must be done outside. It is an extremely robust activity but many science classrooms with difficult access to the outdoors will struggle with this curriculum.
  • It is much easier for teachers to have students upload information using the data entry or GLOBE Observer apps. Students can collect that data in offline mode and upload it when they get back to internet access.
  • Information for teachers as well as extension activities are supplied.
  • The teacher guide is 21 pages, which will take some prep time to read through and get activities ready.

About the Science

  • Students learn about and closely follow the scientific process to collect data on cloud cover and type.
  • Students learn about satellite imagery and how it pertains to the science of cloud cover.
  • Students match data collection times with satellites passing overhead to make sure the data they collect from the ground matches satellite imagery.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students will be able to estimate cloud cover, cloud properties, and interpret satellite data about clouds.
  • Students will gain an understanding of the first steps of the scientific process.
  • Students collect data on cloud cover and type and upload data to GLOBE's website. They compare their data to real-time satellite imagery and provide useful ground information to scientists studying clouds.
  • The teaching sequence is well laid out but is much longer than the 10 minutes stated in the duration section of the teacher's guide.
  • Non-tech savvy students will have a hard time with this lesson.
  • Teachers will have to be very involved in the first rounds of data collection but can give more trust to students as they grow in their observational and data collection skills.
  • This community science project is extremely robust if done correctly.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • A free app is available to support technical needs.
Entered the Collection: November 2021 Last Reviewed: July 2021

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