Cloud Formation

shoreline thunderstormWith their wide variety of sizes and shapes, clouds are one of the most beautiful weather phenomena. Because they can be so varied at times, your students will be amazed to learn that all clouds are made of the same thing - condensed water or ice.

Cloud Formation

Clouds are categorized into three groups based on altitude. While each different cloud "type" within these groups has unique forming conditions, here are the basics:

  • Sunlight on the surface of the Earth (both land and water) causes water to evaporate.
  • As the water molecules rise, they encounter cooling temperatures and lower air pressure causing them to condense.
  • When these condensed molecules collect dust particles clouds are formed!

Project Overview

In this hands-on science fair project from All Science Fair Projects, students will explore the conditions needed for clouds to form by creating a cloud bottle - and actually forming clouds! Be sure to visit the project page for a supply list, detailed, step-by-step instructions (with helpful graphics), and a summary of the basic science principles to be discovered. Not only will this be a helpful learning exercise (students must understand why temperature, pressure, etc. affect cloud formation or else they'll have a hard time successfully making their own), it makes a dynamic science fair display. How often will your guests get to make and release their own clouds?

NOTE: This project makes use of matches so be sure to have an adult 'assistant' throughout the experiment and fair.

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