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Lesson 4: “Watch the Sky” from University Corporation for Atmospheric Research


Objectives:  After completing this lesson, students will be able to:


Key Question: What can you learn about weather from watching the sky?


Overview: This activity is an elegant version of the classic sky-watching unit, from the UCAR website:  A similar project may be found in the Prentice Hall science text on page 439.  However, the attached unit has a great student worksheet with provocative questions.

 If you choose to use it you should start it early in the weather unit, so that students are not rushed to collect data.  It will work as either a class-time project or an ongoing homework project.  It can also be briefly revisited later in the year, in periods of extraordinary weather.

The end-of-unit discussion questions in the lesson plan below can be handled in a variety of formats, including group reports, open discussion, and a written assessment.


Time Required:  15 minutes each day for 3 weeks



·        student worksheet for each day (located down below)                                 ·    pencils or crayons

·        a camera if you have one (200 speed film recommended) – optional           ·     thermometer

·         a pair of binoculars if you have one – optional                                            ·    Prentice Hall transparency: #61 Clouds


Procedure:  See Watch the Sky lesson guide and student worksheet, attached below.


Assessment:  Ask students or groups to identify the season represented by different positions of the balloons in the activity (see last paragraph of p. 10)


OUSD Science Content Standards (State of California Science Content Standards):

4a, 4b, 4d, 4e, 7h,


References: The source of this material is Windows to the Universe, at at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). ©1995-1999, 2000 The Regents of the University of Michigan; ©2000-01 University Corporation for Atmospheric


Notes: This activity can be done on a shorter time scale as a class cloud walk during one or more science periods.  Students can go outside with the worksheet, writing materials, and a hard surface to write on, or the can view the clouds and then return inside to record their observations.


If you need more information, try using the Windows to the Universe website.

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


Appendices: Watch the Sky  lesson guide ; Sky Worksheet