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

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

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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.

Related topics


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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.