How can we see if water is in the air?

Teaching and Learning Focus

In this investigation, your students will begin to develop their concept of clouds based upon three basic observations:

  • Warm air can contain more water vapor than cold air.
  • When air loses heat, some of the water in the air turns to liquid.
  • As air loses heat, droplets of water collect and become visible on solid surfaces.

Materials Needed

For the class:

  • Foam bucket of ice cubes and water

For each student group:

Revisit the Concept of Wind

Reflecting on Air

  1. Immediately following the investigations above, ask your students to review what they have done and what they have learned.
  2. Begin with the wind speed investigation. What observations helped them to gauge the speed of the wind? How could they tell the differences between different wind strengths? What devices could be used to measure wind speed?

How can you tell the direction of the wind?

Teaching and Learning Focus

Understanding that air comes from different places at different times is quite difficult to appreciate. However, wind direction, like wind speed, is an important part of weather study and forecasting. In this investigation, your students will design and build their own wind vane to help make observations about wind direction.

Materials Needed

For each student group:
For wind vane shown in diagram:

How warm or cool is it?

Teaching and Learning Focus

Temperature Investigation Question 1 gave students experience with relative temperature (i.e. warmer, cooler). Your students can be very adept at observing things compared to one another, and observing changes. They may have less understanding about how conditions and changes can be measured using units. This investigation will help them understand that temperature can be measured using standard units (in this case degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius.)

How can we put things in a sequence by how hot they are?

Teaching and Learning Focus

To introduce students to ideas about temperature, they first need to realize that liquids and gases can be warmer or cooler in different situations. This first investigation question is designed to help your students understand that air and water can exist at different temperatures.

Materials Needed

Cup A

Water slightly warmer than body temperature, about

100 °F/38 °C


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