Weather and Clouds

We are done with our weather unit. We first learned about cloud types and made a flap book. The 4 types of clouds we learned about were; Nimbus (storm clouds), Cumulus (white puffy clouds), stratus (blanket of fog) and cirrus (thin wispy horse tail clouds).

We wrote facts underneath each type of cloud picture. Then we added the cotton balls.

We did cotton balls and white yarn strips (cirrus)  for the types of clouds. Scholastic News is a great resource for teaching clouds. 

 We made light blue ones and had drawn lines under each flap to write a few facts about each type of cloud. Check out the Scholastic News website for great info and pictures on Clouds. I order the Scholastic News every year. A lot of times I save the science ones to use with my units.

Picture I use for teaching clouds. I also use the Scholastic News website. 

The Weekly Reader/Scholastic News have a product called Science Spin. I order that every year for an extra dollar or so  per student. I use them because I have no science textbooks. I also order a lot of science reading literature and always keep it at the SCIENCE CENTER. It is the most populated center every day. 

This was a leftover one I had from last year. This year’s class did a lot more writing. We used rulewrs to write  some light lines so the facts would be neatly written. 

Here is the mini flap book we made on light blue construction paper. We used cotton balls for the clouds and used grey and blue chalk to make them look like Nimbus (stormy) clouds. For the cirrus clouds we used pieces of white yarn. For the foggy stratus clouds we cut a square of cotton
Then we wrote a definition of each type of cloud. We looked at internet pictures of the types of clouds and read 2 literature books, and a Weekly Reader.
aThe Cloud Book By dePaola, Tomie (Google Affiliate Ad)
Cloudette By Lichtenheld, Tom (Google Affiliate Ad)

The next day we did some Water Cycle Activities. We Read a Weekly Reader on the Water Cycle that had a cool diagram.

I have about a dozen books on weather. This is just a sampling. I’m always on the lookout for Scholastic books and Amazon used books on the topics I teach in Science. Most of my legislative money goes for books. 

A weather crossword I use in my weather unit is HERE at Some years I have them also do a weather ACROSTIC POEM or we write a story after reading Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
Some free weather stationery is HERE. And .HERE is a printable of all types of weather in a cute blackline from Scholastic that you could use to make your own magnet matching game like mine below.

This was a center game. I had added velcro to the back and they used the carpeted wall to match the word to the weather picture. I left all the weather books at the Science Center along with this game. 

I have an auto harp I play and the kids love singing songs to the music. I also have  about 2 dozen types of instruments and some drums and xylophones so we never lose interest in singing to science texts. 

Water Cycle Song:
Tune: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Here we go round the water cycle, water cycle, water cycle.
Here we go round the water cycle, each and every day.
The ocean water evaporates, evaporates, evaporates,
The ocean water evaporates and makes tiny drops.
The clouds condense to make a raincloud, make a raincloud, make a raincloud,
The clouds condense to make a raincloud, and some feel really heavy!
The heavy drops precipitate, precipitate, precipitate,
The heavy drops precipitate, to make water accumulate. (puddles, lakes, rivers, and underground wells)
Then it’s time to start again, start again, start again,
Then it’s time to start again, the never ending Water Cycle!

We make a rotating water cycle wheel on a brad, coloring it and cutting it out. On the back we have a Water cycle poem;

 We read lots of books on the results of Wicked Weather. And the Hurricane Sandy came right along when we were discussing weather damage.

Tornado Tube Classroom Kit
Tornado Tubes are a fun way to show the motion of  hurricanes and tornadoes.
Tornado Tube
You can get this little connector for as little as $3.00 to make your own classroom tornado tubes.

 This is a Tornado Tube. I put 2 empty 2 liter bottles together with one of them filled with water. The kids loved coming up and twirling it around till it made a tornado. You can get the Tornado Tube from Steve Spangler Science..

I had the kids put together a page of  puzzles; tornadoes, hurricanes and lightening. This is what it looks like before . 

The last thing we did was making a thermometer with paper.Check it out HERE. We talked about hot and cold, cool and freezing weather and what temperature each would be. Then I showed them lots of coats, sweaters, bathing suits etc. and asked what temperature each would be warm. A few more worksheets are at Superteacher Worksheets.. Then we did some temperature worksheets like these Here at We had a great time learning about WEATHER!

How are Pinwheels like windmills? (Wind and Weather)

This week we talked about Violent Weather. We looked at pictures of tornadoes and hurricanes and I read them the books Super Storms by Seymour Simon (really good author for fantastic photographs he takes) and Wicked Weather by Mark Shulman; a book from the Discovery Channel’s Worlds of Weather. We talked about  Wind speeds, droughts, dust storms, sandstorms, hail, and violent storms like Hurricanes and Tornadoes and some of the damage in pictures that they have done.

I taught the kids that hurricanes are formed over the oceans and Tornadoes are formed over the flat lands.  But both can cause tons of damage. We talked about the Earthquake in Japan and some of the flooding damage caused by the Tsunami and how hurricanes can also cause this same kind of damage with winds causing high waves. We read the Weekly Reader on Tornadoes and Hurricanes.

We looked at lots of really amazing pictures of devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. I told the students how all Hurricanes are given a name. They thought that was funny. They talked about what they would name a hurricane. (LOL) Then we looked at tornado damages over farmhouses and cars that were picked up and moved to other places and lots of smashed in buildings.

Hurricanes are violent storms…

I told them about the tornado that came through Salt Lake City one afternoon while I was teaching and it caused a HUGE loud rumble on our roofs. We were all kind of shook up at the time, but it wasn’t a bad one and not to worry because Utah hardly ever gets them. I think all those Rocky Mountains keep them from forming for the most part. I gave them all a puzzle to cut out and put together in the shapes of the 3 kinds of violent storms. Here’s what they looked like all finished…..

Our Super Storms on the board outside….We added rain poetry on top later….

 A fun Fun Weather Game Interactive Link can be found HERE. The site is ETE’s K4 Earth Science.

I love to do cinquain poems for one of the days of our weather unit. Some years I do it on weather words and kids have their choice of Tornado, Hurricane, Storm, Wind, Hail, Rain, or Snow. Then they follow this pattern; 1 word, 2 words, 3 words, (4 words  & 3 words optional) 2 words, 1 word. A link to the directions for a diamante poem is HERE from Teacher Guided Activities. Diamonte poems are longer than Cinquains but both have similar characteristics.

Cinquain Poetry…

Most of the kids end their poem with a synonym of the first word or else just “WEATHER”. Then I type them tall up after school in a diamond shape and cut them out on the paper cutter.

For art the kids paste their finished poems on “kite” shaped butcher paper in pastel rainbow colors to go with Spring. Then we decorate the back with squares of tissue paper “glued” down with a solution of half water half white school glue using the same colors but more vibrant (instead of light purple, deep purple etc.). Then we add a “tail” with crepe paper and small crepe paper bows all down the “tail”.

Here is what the Spring “weather kites” look like. It’s always great to mix writing workshop with art. I’ll put more pictures up as soon as we are all done with everything.

The tails and bows attached were done with rolled crepe paper

 SCIENCE – wind instruments
Then we made our own wind instruments to show the direction the wind is blowing.  We made pinwheels. A link for the black line is HERE. There is also a set of directions on how to make a pinwheel for first graders on the Jan Brett website. Her website link is HERE. I linked the wind power invention of windmills with this book by Gretchen Woelfle called Katje the Windmill Cat. I showed them some Internet pictures of windmills and how they can give us cheap power. Then we made our own mini windmills called pinwheels.

How to Make a Pinwheel…

Pinwheels on a Pencil! Super Easy!
You could also make windmills out of quart sized milk cartons and windmill brads. This pic is from Little Giraffes website

The kids used markers and made some designs like squiggles, dots, hearts and curly Qs like snails on their brightly colored paper squares.  Then they punched little holes in the corners with a hole puncher. Then they cut into each diagonal corner just about an inch from the middle down to the ends. Then they folded each corner over the middle and we used a pin to poke it into a pencil eraser that was old and flat on the top. Or you could use new pencils…but it’s  a good way to use up your flattened eraser pencils….uh huh…..

Making a pinwheel from a square of paper, a pencil and a pin…

Then the real fun began. We all went outside right before school let out and ran around facing the wind with them and watching them twirl. It sure was fun!  I actually forgot to tell them to look for the wind’s direction, but maybe they did it anyway? Probably not. But the other students who came out when the bell rang thought it was a cool experiment in weather. We did too! Now maybe next time I’ll remember the camera. :O