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Weather experiment: Create your own cloud

Posted at 3:02 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 15:03:00-04

These days you may find yourself outside watching the clouds pass by, but have you ever wondered how they get up there? During this weather experiment, we'll create our own cloud in a bottle to explain how they form.

SUPPLIES YOU'LL NEED:

  • Plastic bottle
  • Hot water
  • Matches
  • Plate of ice

STEPS:

  • Fill the plastic bottle more than half way with the hot water.
  • Light a match and drop it into the bottle. (Parents probably want to help the little ones with this to be safe.)
  • Place your ice cubes on top of the bottle, and wait for your cloud to form.

TIP: If the cloud doesn't form, you might need more water in the plastic bottle.
EXPLANATION:
The air containing the warm water vapor— or water in its gaseous state— rises to the top of the bottle just like it would in the atmosphere.

As it rises, it also cools, and condenses around particles in the air. The match we lit represents the particles in the air such as dust, pollen, and other pollutants.
Those particles, also known as condensation nuclei, help water droplets form and stick together.

Eventually billions of those droplets come together to create the clouds we see outside.

Types of Clouds

Click here to learn more about types of clouds and the water cycle.