Make a Cloud Teacher Sheet

Make a Cloud Teacher Sheet


Have students use their Make a Cloud student sheet to perform one of the many hands-on inquiries written by the author. This particular activity is taken from Gardner's book titled Weather Science Fair Projects. It would be helpful to obtain at least one classroom copy of the book, if not enough for the entire class.

Question: How can you make a cloud?

Hypothesis: You can make a cloud by allowing water vapor to cool and condense on small particles in the air.


  • An adult
  • Clear, empty, two-liter plastic soda bottle and cap
  • Warm water
  • Matches
  • Measuring cup

Note: Part of the activity requires that you light a match. Be sure to follow all of your school’s safety regulations when you do this activity.

1. Have students remove any labels from a clear, empty, two-liter plastic soda bottle. They will then pour about half a cup of warm water into the bottle, then screw on the cap and shake the bottle to saturate the air inside with water vapor.

2. They should then hold the bottle up against a light background, such as a window, and shake the bottle again. Then squeeze and release it.

  • Ask them if they see a cloud yet.
  • They will probably not see one because one ingredient is missing. Ask them if they know what that ingredient is.
  • The correct answer would be dust or particles, or to be more accurate—condensation nuclei.


3. You should then light a match, blow it out, and quickly lower the match into the mouth of the bottle so that smoke particles can form inside the bottle.

4. Have the students put the cap back on and again shake the bottle, hold it up against a light background, and squeeze it to increase the pressure inside the bottle. Then quickly release the squeeze. This will decrease the pressure inside the bottle, allowing the water vapor to expand and cool.

  • Ask the students if they see a cloud form.
  • Ask them why they think it formed after smoke was added to the bottle. (The cloud formed because water vapor needs particles to condense on to form water droplets).


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

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