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The Different Cloud Types - Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulus, and Cumulonimbus

In the following fifth grade science lesson, students will gain an understanding of one of the characteristics of the physical world. At the end of this lesson, students will be able to distinguish between the four cloud types as well as demonstrate their understanding of the four different cloud types. This lesson can also be extended by taking the class outside to recognize the different cloud types you have discussed. This is an interesting lesson for students because it is something that they see on a daily basis.

Grade Level: fifth grade
Prior Knowledge: Students will know how clouds are formed.
Concepts to be taught: There are different types of clouds. Varying cloud types have distinguishing characteristics.

1. Students will be able to distinguish the difference between the four cloud types.
2. Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the four different cloud types.

pictures of the four types of clouds
handout 9x12 blue construction paper, one per student white
chalk, one per student

1. Begin the lesson by discussing the weather at the time. Ask probing questions like, "What is the difference between the weather today and the weather yesterday?", "What kind of an effect do you think clouds have on weather?" or "What makes one cloud different from another?".
2. Show students picture examples of what the different type of clouds look like. Talk about what they are seeing by discussing the different characteristics of the clouds. Be sure to point out height (elevation), texture and color.
3. Introduce four different types of clouds. These clouds are cirrus, stratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus. Write the four names on the chalkboard and ask the class to describe each type (where it would be found, what it looks like, its color). Place each of the cloud type pictures on the chalkboard ledge under the corresponding name.
4. Ask if there are any more characteristics of clouds that we missed writing on the board that were in the song.
5. Explain to students that they are responsible for making a drawing that includes all four types of clouds on a 9x12 blue piece of construction paper and they will use a piece of white chalk to draw all the cloud types discussed. Their drawing must show the clouds in relation to ground level
and the clouds should depict the attributes discussed by the class. Their scene should include the ground so they can explain the levels. Students will have no longer than 5 minutes to make their drawing.
6. Bring the class back together as a whole by having the children present their drawings to the class. Make sure that they explain what each cloud is and its relation to the horizon.
7. Collect the drawings from students when all students have presented.

Teacher will observe each student as they present their drawing in front of the class to measure their knowledge of the four cloud types. Teacher will assess student drawings for accuracy on the four different types of clouds.

Take class outside or look out window and recognize the cloud forms you have discussed.


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