Robert Gardner

Robert Gardner


You may have spent time outdoors looking for fun shapes in the clouds. But did you know that clouds come in different types? Did you know that you can predict the weather by identifying the different types of clouds?  Learn more with this activity.


First, visit the JetStream—Clouds site from the National Weather Service to learn about the different types of clouds and how they form. Then, answer these questions (you can write answers to these questions on the Robert Gardner student sheet):

  • What are the four different basic categories of clouds?
  • Which type of cloud is formed of ice crystals?         
  • Which type of cloud looks like a blanket covering the sky? 
  • Which type of cloud brings steady rain or snow?     
  • Which type of cloud has the greatest height?

Now, go to the bottom of the page to the Skywatcher Chart. Click on pictures of different types of clouds. See if you can place each type of cloud in one of the four basic categories.

Now that you have a better understanding of clouds, learn how severe storms like hurricanes and tornadoes are formed by going to these resources:

Now see if you can create your own tornadoes and hurricanes by going to Forces of Nature from National Geographic. Once at the site, you can choose a force of nature by clicking one of the icons in the upper-left corner of the interactive. Then simply follow the directions for creating a tornado or hurricane!

Now, you should go and listen to a podcast interview with Robert Gardner and answer these questions. You will discuss these questions in class:

  • Where did Mr. Gardener first work after college?
  • Did he enjoy that job?
  • When did he get caught up in teaching hands-on science?
  • Was he interested in science as a young child?
  • About how many books has Mr. Gardner written?
  • Who chooses the topics he writes about?
  • What does he find hard about writing with someone else? What does he like about it?
  • What does he find most difficult about writing hands-on books?
  • What was the subject of the book that he thought was his best writing?
  • What hands-on topics did he most enjoy writing about?

This esheet is a part of the Robert Gardner: Teaching Scientific Inquiry lesson.

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