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Bringing STEM Home: Cloud Identification and Our Place in Space

Posted by EiE Team on Tuesday, June 22, 2021

We know that kids are natural scientists, engineers and mathematicians. Keeping them engaged and learning at home and in our communities helps to build on their natural curiosity and see opportunities for learning in their everyday surroundings. As part of our Bringing STEM Home series, we’ve come up with easy, free or low cost at-home activities and experiments for learners in K-8th grade. 

Looking at the sky is an endless source of inspiration for scientists and lifelong learners alike. We can learn so much by examining the sky, the planets around us and our place in the solar system.  Scientists study clouds to understand what it means when different types of patterns occur in the sky. Different types of clouds appear at different altitudes and can be indicators of certain weather patterns, like rain or lightning! 

In this activity for learners 4 and up, the goal is to begin identifying the types of clouds in the sky. All you need is your eyes, so you can play this game without any supplies, or you can let your learner draw the types of clouds they see in the sky, or replicate them with cotton balls on construction paper. For older learners, try challenging them to match the altitude or weather patterns associated with certain types of clouds.

→ Stratus Clouds are low forming clouds that are known by their “layered” look, which appear in the sky at altitudes lower than 7,000 feet and sometimes appear before rain.

→ Cumulus Clouds are the puffy, “cotton-like” clouds we usually see in picture books. These clouds form at an altitude 2,000 - 7,000 feet and don’t usually indicate rain or other precipitation. 

→ Cirrus Clouds are wispy, thin clouds that form in high altitudes between 16,500 - 45,000 feet. These clouds are usually the first sign that warmer weather is heading your way!

For nighttime, learners ages 6-10 will have a blast with our matching and sorting activity Our Place in Space [PDF]. The game, which has varying degrees of difficulty, is a great way to turn looking into the night sky into a learning experience and includes printable cards to help you and your learners sort objects in space by distance, size, age, location and type! 

For more space-related information, visit the NASA website for hours worth of live and recorded space-centric lessons and activities for learners of all ages, including an entire section of resources called NASA At Home

For more STEM at-home family fun this summer, explore our EiE Family & STEM Events

Written by EiE Team

Topics: Out-of-School time, Create a Generation of Problem Solvers, Engineering Activities

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