Science Storytime: Clouds

Clouds experimentInspired by the ALSC program about weather, this week’s Science Storytime theme was clouds. We read parts of Tomie DePaola’s book Clouds and talked about clouds in general, such as colors of clouds, when we see clouds, and other cloud experiences the children had had.

After discussing that all clouds are made of water vapor, but you need lots of heavy water droplets before it starts to rain, we used a model rain cloud for our activity. We put shaving cream on top of a cup of water to represent our cloud. Next we used pipettes to pour liquid water colors into the shaving cream. At first the shaving cream cloud simply held up the colored water. But eventually there was enough water that it had become heavy enough to “rain” into the bottom of the cup. The pictures I had seen online showed very distinct raindrops, but for us it was generally more of a seeping. The water under the shaving cream turned colors, so the “rain” was getting through, but only one cup seemed to have distinct raindrops. The children were so engaged with the rest of the activity that they did not seem to mind.

I made sure to verbalize that the activity had multiple levels of learning. Not only had we talked about clouds, but there was also a technology aspect to the program. Most of the children had not seen or used pipettes before, so figuring out how and when to squeeze was in itself entertaining. Since I set out multiple colors of water, color mixing and what happens when you combine various colors together inevitably became a part of the conversation as well. It was a very popular activity, and all of the children involved would have continued to interact with the materials for as long as I was willing.

I had wanted to make a cloud in a jar as I found online but I couldn’t get it to work with aerosol spray, so I had to nix that. It may have worked better with matches, but I wasn’t quite comfortable using matches in the library.


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