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Lesson Plans
It's Rainin', It's Pouring
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 2-3 hours. May be divided into separate sections.


This lesson introduces the concept of cloud formation and the conditions necessary for precipitation. The students will start with a quick look at part of the water cycle, and the combined gas laws. They will then progress through a hands-on/minds-on activity demonstrating the combined gas laws. The lesson will lead them through the conditions necessary for cloud formation and allow them to create clouds in three different hands-on activities. The Internet portion of this activity allows an extension into the study of various weather factors through the use of interactive weather maps.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the relationship of volume, pressure, and temperature in a closed system (combined gas laws);
  • Model the formation of a cloud under different sets of conditions;
  • Create a working model of the convection process;
  • Relate the terms directly proportional and inversely proportional to a real-time model.


National Science Education Standards

From the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards,

Students will develop problem-solving, decision-making, and inquiry skills, reflected by formulating usable questions and hypotheses, planning experiments, conducting systematic observations, interpreting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and communicating results.

Students will be able to monitor weather conditions and changes in the atmosphere that lead to weather conditions.

Media Components

Video: EARTH, THE ENVIRONMENT & BEYOND # 1 - Atmospheric Phenomena SCIENCE FOR YOU # 7 - Weather

Web sites:

Interactive Weather Maps This is the home page for a series of interactive weather maps at the University of Michigan.

Unisys Weather This weather site provides a complete source of graphical weather information.


Per class:

  • (per class)
  • 12 clear 2-liter plastic soda bottles with tight fitting top
  • masking tape
  • 12 LED strip thermometers with a 56 to 86 degree range (fish tank thermometers from a pet store)
  • 12 straight- sided 1-quart jars
  • 12 plastic petri dishes
  • ice cubes
  • warm water
  • safety matches
  • hair spray
  • 1 large glass battery jar
  • 1 pair large rubber kitchen gloves
  • 2 copies of any black-line map of the Unites States
  • rayons, markers, or colored pencils for marking on the maps