Monday, September 16, 2013

Head in the Clouds

Today wraps up Week 2 of First Grade for us, with a lesson on clouds.

In our study, we read Clouds by Anne Rockwell ...
... Fluffy, Flat, and Wet: A Book About Clouds by Dana Meachen Rau ...
 ... Shapes in the Sky: A Book About Clouds by Josepha Sherman ...
... The Cloud Book by Tomie de Paola ...
... Little Cloud by Eric Carle ...
 ... and It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw.  (Every one of these books was an asset to our study.)
We then set out to make our own cloud, and determine what its shape reminded us of by using a piece of blue construction paper and some white paint.  First, we folded our piece of paper in half, and then opened it so it had a crease down the middle.  Next, we applied our paint to one side, like Maggie is doing here.  (I tried to get her to make one big blob, but she insisted on lots of little ones.)
 After your paint is applied, you fold your paper in half again, this time pressing hard to squish the paint between the layers.
 Open it to reveal your shape(s)!  (Again, I think this would have worked better with one big blob of paint, but she insisted!)  Eye your "clouds" to determine what pictures you see in them.  We saw a cat, a duck, and a flower.
Next, we started a weather book, using our Evan-Moor: Making Books with Pockets: March manual.  (We will add to this all week.)  Today, we worked on the "Cloud Pocket."
 After we read about different types of clouds, and completed the worksheet, above, we set out to demonstrate how a cloud is made, using the experiment in the manual.  For the same, you need a clean jar, plastic wrap, boiling water, a rubber band, and ice.  To start, put boiling water into your glass jar, leaving an inch without water at the top.  Immediately (and carefully) cover with plastic wrap and secure with your rubber band.  Place ice cubes on top of the plastic wrap, like Maggie is doing here.
 Observe.  You will see the space between the water and the plastic wrap fog up (your "cloud"), and water droplets beginning to form under the plastic wrap.
 Then, you will observe "rain" running down the sides of your jar.  (We then recorded the results of our experiment for our Cloud Pocket.)
I found this great idea for a cloud book at, using a sheet of blue cardstock (8.5 x 11"), a sheet of white cardstock (8.5 x 11"), a ruler, pencil, scissors, glue, a black marker, and a stapler.
 First, cut your blue cardstock into four equal pieces, lengthwise (each piece being about 2.125"wide and still 11" long), like below.
Once you have four equal strips, cut each strip as follows:
Strip #1 - Leave alone (keep long);
Strip #2 - Cut off 2.75";
Strip #3 - Cut off 5.5"; and
Strip #4 - Cut off 8.25".
See the picture below for how yours should look.  (This will ensure they are well staggered once they are made into a book.)
Once your blue strips are cut, hand-cut your clouds to look like they are supposed to in the sky.  Here are mine, in order from the top:  Cirrus, Alto, and Stratus, plus the cloud to serve as the title page of our flipbook, labeled "Clouds Classified by Altitude" (I raised the piece on top using some 3D scrapbooking squares.)
To start, I had her label the clouds.  Then, we glued the clouds on their appropriate flaps (to correspond with their positions in the sky). 
Under each cloud, we wrote facts about it. 
We then added our flip book to our Cloud Pocket.
For our next cloud activity, we made the cloud differentiation picture as seen at, using a piece of blue construction paper, a ruler, a black marker, white chalk, white and black paint, shaving cream, and Elmer's white glue.  First, using your maker, divide your paper into four sections, then label them like below. 
For the Cirrus cloud, use your chalk to make wispy strokes.

For Stratus, paint a long, flat cloud with white paint.
 For Cumulus, mix 1 part Elmer's glue to 1 part shaving cream and mix.  Apply to your paper and form into a puffy Cumulus cloud.
 And, lastly, for your Cumulonimbus Cloud, make the 1 part Elmer's glue and 1 part shaving cream again, but this time, add a squirt of black paint to make a gray storm cloud.  Apply to your paper.
 Here is our Cloud Differentiation Chart, ready to go in our Cloud Pocket!
And for our next experiment, we used our 501 Science Experiments book for instructions, a plastic soda bottle with lid, warm water, and matches.  First, cover just the bottom of your bottle with your warm water.
 Then, light a match or two, let them burn for a second, then blow out and quickly drop in the bottle.  Replace the lid immediately and watch the cloud form inside.  Squeeze the bottle carefully to get a thicker "cloud."
 Once all of our projects were done, we added them to our Cloud Pocket for this week's weather work!
Catch us again tomorrow when we cover rain and start a study on grasslands.

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