Divide the class into several groups, and give each group ten sheets of paper. On five of them should be definitions or descriptions of the five clouds types, cirrus, cumulus, cumulonimbus, stratus, and nimbostratus. On the other five should be pictures of the five clouds types. Have students work together to match the cloud pictures to the written definitions using their own inference skills. Then have them compare their answers with the other groups and discuss any differences they may have.
Discuss the five types of clouds with students, using the materials from the first activity as a guide. Ask students to explain what the cloud types might be like on days with various types of weather, such as a drizzly day, a sunny day, a stormy day, or a foggy day. You may also want to teach students the different prefixes, suffixes, and roots that can be used to name different types of clouds, such as "nimbo," "alto," "cirro," "cumulo," and "strato." Then give students a list of the names of different clouds (e.g., cumulonimbus, altostratus, cirrocumulus), and ask them what they can understand based on the word parts that they’ve learned.
Cotton Ball Project
Use a fun cotton ball project to finish up this cloud type lesson plan. Give out blue construction paper to students, as well as several cotton balls and some gray paint. Instruct students to illustrate each of the five cloud types using the materials given to them. Encourage them to stretch or combine cotton balls as needed, and to paint cotton balls grey for the grey cloud types. Display their creations in a prominent area of the room and compare each student’s results to those of the rest of the class.
After this cloud type lesson plan, your students should be familiar with all five cloud types. They’ll also be able to connect what they’ve learned to the weather outside!