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Cloud shapes

An activity that investigates natural resources and the water cycle through a study of clouds.

Curriculum connections
Level 1 & 2Explore and describe natural features and resources. Describe how natural features are changed and resources affected by natural events and human actions.
Level 3 & 4Ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models, and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations. Develop an understanding that water, air, rocks and soil, and life forms make up our planet and recognise that these are also Earth’s resources. Investigate the water cycle and its effect on climate, landforms, and life.
Level 5Investigate the composition, structure, and features of the geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
Level 6Develop and carry out more complex investigations, including using models. Use a wider range of science vocabulary, symbols, and conventions.

Learning materials


  • 2-litre clear plastic pop bottle
  • Matches (*adult assistance)
  • Warm water


  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Coloured pencils/crayons
  • Journal/notebook (OR tape, paper)


  • Let’s take a closer look at the skies! Have you ever made a cloud in a bottle?
    Note: adult assistance needed for young ones
    a) What are the 3 ingredients necessary to make a cloud?

Activities and teaching strategies

  1. Levels 1-4: Let’s learn more about clouds!
    a) Collect or create a cloud journal by stapling/taping pieces of paper together. Take your journal and a pencil outside to find a comfortable spot to sit or lie down. Look up at the sky and notice the shapes of the clouds, the speed at which they move and their colour. Choose and draw 3 different clouds that have shapes you can identify (e.g. heart).
  2. How do clouds get up into the sky? Let’s find out! Watch a 3-minute video to learn about the water cycle.
    1) What are the 4 main stages of the water cycle?
    2) Draw a water cycle diagram.
  1. Levels 5-9: Today you are a nephologist (someone who studies clouds)!! Use the link to answer the following questions (once opened, click on the tab, ‘Cloud Questions’).
  2. What are clouds?
  3. Why do clouds float?
  4. How do clouds move?
  5. How is fog formed?


Levels 1-8Types of clouds video (4 mins):
a) Clouds can be grouped into 3 categories. What are they?
b) Which cloud can go in all 3 categories?
c) Identify one low level cloud, one mid-level cloud, and one high level cloud.
d) What type of cloud is fog considered?
e) Brainstorm 3 ways in which humans and their life choices can affect the weather.
Levels 2-3(*note: requires a printer to reproduce cut-outs)
Using this resource, print and cut out the Cloud Finder:
Make a chart with five headings:
Date/Time Cloud Type AM Weather Predicted Weather PM Weather/Time

c) Fill the chart in each morning for a week, comparing their predictions to the actual weather in the afternoon.
d) After a week, analyse your chart. How accurate were your predictions? Were there any weather patterns that surprised you in the afternoon?


Peekaboo Kidz. (March 2015). The water cycle: The Dr. Binocs show. Retrieved on 11 April 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncORPosDrjI

Peekaboo Kidz. (November 2017). Types of clouds: The Dr. Binocs show. Retrieved on 11 April 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yod3wMbFHUY

Scholastic Professional Books. (2020). Cloud key: Clouds – The wow’s and why’s of weather. Retrieved on 11 April 2020 from http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonrepro/reproducibles/profbooks/cloudkey.pdf

Weather Wiz Kids. (2020). Cloud in a bottle. Retrieved on 11 April 2020 from

Weather Wiz Kids. (2020). Clouds: Cloud questions. Retrieved on 11 April 2020 from http://www.weatherwizkids.com/?page_id=64


Rachel Williamson-Dean

Rachel Williamson-Dean is an experienced secondary school teacher, who has lived and taught in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. She has a Master of Public and Population Health Degree (MPH – Dist) and a PhD in Health Education. Over the past ten years Rachel has worked with students and school leaders across New Zealand, including leading the digital literacy programme, The Summer Learning Journey, for which she received the NEXT Woman of the Year in Education 2018 award. 

By Rachel Williamson-Dean

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