Watch the Sky

Type of Lesson: Hands-on activity and discussion

Time Needed: 15 minutes each day for 3 weeks

Standards Addressed

MEGOSE EAW1 Describe the atmosphere.
MEGOSE EAW2 Describe weather conditions and climates.
MEGOSE EAW3 Describe seasonal changes in weather.
MEGOSE EAW5 Describe the composition and characteristics of the atmosphere.
MEGOSE EAW6 Describe patterns of changing weather and how they are measured.
MEGOSE EAW10 Explain and predict general weather patterns and storms.

Quick Summary of Lesson

If your students have ever looked up in the sky on a lazy Sunday afternoon and just watched the clouds, here's a project where they can do just that and learn something too!


student worksheet for each day (located down below)
pencils or crayons
a camera if you have one (200 speed film recommended) - optional
a pair of binoculars if you have one - optional


1. First, read about different types of clouds on the Windows to the Universe website.
2. Then, every day, for the next 3 weeks, go out into an open area where you can see a lot of sky. (DO NOT work on this project if the weather is bad or if you hear or see thunder and lightning. Safety is more important.) Look at the sky in all directions. If you see a cloud, draw a picture (on the student worksheet) or take a photo of it.
3. Use the student worksheet to collect data for that day.
4. Do this every day for the next three weeks. At the end of three weeks, meet with your classmates. Go over all of the photos, drawings, and data that you collected and discuss them with your group. Try to answer the following questions:

  • What clouds are associated with good weather? rain? snow?
  • Of the three weeks, were there more cloudy days, or more clear days? Why do you think that is?
  • Do you think different seasons play a large role with cloud cover? If so, which seasons do you think have more cloud cover and precipitation? Why?
  • Which clouds belonged to the Low Cloud group? High Cloud group? Middle Cloud group? How many of each?
  • Student Activity Sheet

    Please click here for student activity sheets. All activities on the Windows to the Universe site may be printed and reproduced if being used for educational purposes.

    Notes to the Teacher

    This project works best if you put students into groups of 2-3. It's also a good idea to hang up the photos or drawings. Hang them up according to cloud group. Throughout the rest of the school year, take a look out a classroom window once a day and figure out what type of clouds there are in the sky.

    Need More Information? Try Using Windows to the Universe

    Please use these links for further ideas or more information:
    Earth's weather
    Cloud Types
    General page on clouds
    Jupiter's clouds
    Martian clouds
    Saturn's clouds
    Uranus's clouds
    Weather crossword puzzle

    Last modified prior to September, 2000 by the Windows Team

    The source of this material is Windows to the Universe, at from the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA). The Website was developed in part with the support of UCAR and NCAR, where it resided from 2000 - 2010. © 2010 National Earth Science Teachers Association. Windows to the Universe® is a registered trademark of NESTA. All Rights Reserved. Site policies and disclaimer.