As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers!” But, where do the oh-so-important showers come from? Clouds, of course! There are so many types of clouds – puffy, white clouds, whispy clouds and, of course, dark, gloomy clouds. Learning all about clouds and their different roles is a fun way to celebrate and love the Earth on Earth Day!
Clouds are given different names based on their shape and their height in the sky. The diagram to the right labels these different types of clouds and where they like to form. The highest clouds in the atmosphere are cirrocumulus, cirrus, and cirrostratus. Mid-level clouds include altocumulus and altostratus. The lowest clouds in the atmosphere are stratus, cumulus, and stratocumulus. Make your own cloud viewer and head outside and get your head in the clouds!
- 1 Popsicle stick
- 1 Cloud Viewer sheet – print it out here!
- Pair of scissors
- Pencil or pen
- Glue stick
Print out the Cloud Viewer. Cut along the dashed line in the center of the page so you can look through the opening and see the sky above you. Place your Cloud Viewer on your cardboard and trace its shape and cut out. Take popsicle stick and place at the bottom of the cardboard, making sure that half of the stick is sticking out of the bottom. Glue popsicle stick to cardboard and glue Cloud Viewer sheet on top to create a handy cloud watching tool!
- Look up at the sky. Can you pick out the different types of clouds? What do those different types mean for the day’s weather?
- Can you name the clouds that like to sit high in the sky? What about the type that likes to hang out low to the ground?
- The water cycle is how our clouds are formed! Which part(s) of this cycle do clouds play a part in?
- Take your Cloud Viewer on the road! Visit our Galactic Gardens outdoor exhibit to explore the skies and enjoy nature!