Determining Cloud Types
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: 6- 9
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

This would be a good activity for students to do in a general science class when discussing weather and climate. Students should have some background on this subject and should also be familiar with the Digital Atlas of Idaho. This activity can be done everyday for the first few minutes of class until students can recognize cloud types without having to look them up. Class should keep a journal of their observations so they can predict weather patterns.

1. Students will learn how to use the Climatology section the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
2. Students will be able to identify basic cloud types.
3. Students will be able to predict basic weather patterns by knowing cloud types.

1. Encourage your students to look out window at the beginning of class and look for clouds.

2. Use the Digital Atlas of Idaho: To get there: Click on Atlas Home, Climatology, then on Cloud Imaging. Scroll down on the right side until the links of different cloud types come into view. Click on these and compare to the types of clouds that are seen in the sky. Record cloud types observed in a class journal.

3. Digital Atlas can be used to answer the following questions as a class, as days go by, try to give the students less and less help. This way it makes them learn the material on their own.
     a. What types of clouds are observed?
     b. What are the characteristics of these clouds? (altitude, ice or water, etc)
     c. What kinds of weather are these types of clouds consistent with?
     d. What type of weather can we expect to see later in the day?
     e. Are some types of clouds seen more often at particular times of the day compared to others?

4. Teachers can turn this activity into a quiz at any time if desired.

Handouts/Activity links:
These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
Cloud Imaging

Related Lesson Topics:
Climatology: Climatology

Lesson plan by James Scannell and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: