K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Related pages

  • Weathering the water cycle: Evaporation: Students will learn that evaporation is one of the three stages of the water cycle. The other lessons in this series include lessons on condensation and precipitation as well as a conclusion.
  • Weather activities with Night of the Twisters: While reading the novel Night of the Twisters, students will complete activities related to weather concepts described in the story. Students will complete activities which explore the key concepts of cloud formation, air pressure, and local weather patterns.
  • Observing the water cycle: Initially, students will observe a demonstration of the water cycle and apply the information gained through the demonstration. Then students will measure and graph rainfall for two weeks.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Learn what clouds are made of and how they are made.
  • Learn that there are different types of clouds.
  • Learn that water droplets which form on the outside of a cold glass on a hot day are another form of condensation.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 days


  • metal pie pan
  • glass jar without lid
  • hot water
  • ice cubes
  • freezer

Technology resources

  • computer with internet access
  • Windows on Science laser disk program (unit on weather)


  • Students are introduced to the three stages of the water cycle through use of the science textbook or other science resources appropriate for your grade level.
  • Discuss with students why they see clouds some days and do not see clouds on other days.
  • Discuss what happens to a glass filled with a cold drink on a hot day.


  1. Cloud in a Jar activity
    • Put the metal pie pan in the freezer for about an hour.
    • Fill the jar half full with hot water just before you take the pan out of the freezer.
    • Remove the pan from the freezer and fill it with ice cubes. Set the pan on top of the jar. Leave it there for a few minutes and observe what happens inside the jar.
  2. Fill a glass or jar with ice cubes and water. Let it sit at room temperature. Have students observe and record what happens after one minute, five minutes, and ten minutes.
  3. Complete the Condensation Scavenger Hunt.
  4. Read appropriate books related to the water cycle and condensation.


Students will successfully complete the Condensation Scavenger Hunt. Students will respond appropriately to teacher’s questions (PDF) about condensation.

Supplemental information


Possible books to read include:

  • Magic School Bus Wet All Over by Joanna Cole, Publisher: Scholastic Trade, ISBN: 0590508334
  • Clouds by Gail Saunders Smith, Publisher: Capstone Press, ISBN: 1560657774
  • The Cloud Book by Tomie de Paola, Publisher: Holiday House, ISBN: 0823405311
  • Liquid to Gas and Back by J.M. Patten, Publisher: Rourke Book Company, ISBN: 1559161299
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, Publisher: Scott Foresman, ISBN: 0689707495
  • What Do You See in a Cloud? by Allan Fowler, Publisher: Children’s Press, ISBN: 0516202227

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 2

        • 2.E.1 Understand patterns of weather and factors that affect weather. 2.E.1.1 Summarize how energy from the sun serves as a source of light that warms the land, air and water. 2.E.1.2 Summarize weather conditions using qualitative and quantitative measures...
        • 2.P.2 Understand properties of solids and liquids and the changes they undergo. 2.P.2.1 Give examples of matter that change from a solid to a liquid and from a liquid to a solid by heating and cooling. 2.P.2.2 Compare the amount (volume and weight) of water...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 2

  • Goal 2: The learner will conduct investigations and use appropriate tools to build an understanding of the changes in weather.
    • Objective 2.06: Observe and record weather changes over time and relate to time of day and time of year.
  • Goal 3: The learner will observe and conduct investigations to build an understanding of changes in properties.
    • Objective 3.02: Observe changes in state due to heating and cooling of common materials.