STEM: Cloud Doodlers

Time Required: Two 45-minute sessions
Skill Level: Intermediate
Recommended Grades: 3rd to 5th

In this activity, students will work in small groups to research 4 different cloud types, their heights, and associated weather conditions. Students will document their research in a series of Doodled clouds and then creatively repurpose them as everyday objects, animals and/or people.

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Lesson Plan


Step 1

Project your tablet or computer screen for students to view images of each cloud type here and here. Review the associated features, weather patterns and heights for cirrus, cumulonimbus, stratus and cirrus clouds
a. Cumulonimbus: tall, bring thundershowers, range in height from 4 to 14 km.
b. Cirrus: high and composed of ice crystals, appear thin and wispy, associated with fair weather but may indicate that a change in weather is on the way, range in height from 11 to 13 km.
c. Cumulus: appear fluffy and piled, typically indicate fair weather, but may produce light rain or snow showers, range in height from 3 to 10 km.
d. Stratus: formed by a warm mass of air slowly pushing over a colder mass or over a mountain. Appear as layers. When closer to the ground, they appear as fog, range in height from 0 to 2 km.

Step 2

Share the goal: Students will create a poster that includes the following information about the 4-cloud types: its description, elevation, and related weather.

Step 3

Model how to use a 3Doodler pen to create the 4 types of clouds on a poster-size sheet of blue paper. Use different strokes to emulate the features of each cloud type. Example: Cumulus clouds can be doodled in spirals. Stratus clouds can be doodled in layers. *See Appendix.

Step 4

Note where students would record the height, description and related weather for each cloud type on their group's poster.

Step 5

Hand out paper, pencils, marker and 3Doodler pens. Circle to assist as students work in groups.

Step 6

After students have documented and shared their posters, have them repurpose their clouds as everyday objects, people or animals. *Relate this to cloud-watching. Ask: What does this cloud look like?

Step 7

Demonstrate how to repurpose the cloud as a part of something it resembles. Students may fill in the missing elements with a pencil and go over lines with a marker. *See Appendix.

Wrap Up

Students share their posters first and then repurpose their clouds to share their creative interpretations of cloud formations with the whole group. Students will share their work on Twitter. @3Doodler #3Doodler


The teacher will assess students’ work based on cloud posters and creatively repurposed clouds.

Possible Extensions

Students will write a poem based on their repurposed cloud using metaphors and similes to compare the cloud to the related object, person or animal. Example: The cumulus cloud was as fluffy as a lion's mane. Students perform a creative weather show with repurposed clouds. "Today will be sunny with a chance of fluffy poodles." *See Appendix.


  • cirrus - a cloud of a class characterized by thin white filaments or narrow bands and a composition of ice crystals: of high altitude, about 20,000–40,000 feet (6000–12,000 meters).

  • clouds - a visible collection of particles of water or ice suspended in the air, usually at an elevation above the earth's surface.

  • collaboration - to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.

  • creative thinking - a way of looking at problems or situations from a fresh and imaginative perspective.

  • cumulonimbus - a cloud of a class indicative of thunderstorm conditions, characterized by large, dense towers that often reach altitudes of 30,000 feet (9000 meters) or more, cumuliform except for their tops, which appear fibrous because of the presence of ice crystals: occurs as a single cloud or as a group with merged bases and separate tops.

  • cumulus - a cloud of a class characterized by dense individual elements in the form of puffs, mounds, or towers, with flat bases and tops that often resemble cauliflower: as such clouds develop vertically, they form cumulonimbus.

  • drawing - the art or technique of representing an object or outlining a figure, plan, or sketch by means of lines.

  • elevation - the height to which something is elevated or to which it rises.

  • problem-solving - the process or act of finding a solution to a problem.

  • rain - water that is condensed from the aqueous vapor in the atmosphere and falls to earth in drops.

  • showers - a brief fall of rain or, sometimes, of hail or snow.

  • snow - a precipitation in the form of ice crystals, mainly of intricately branched, hexagonal form and often agglomerated into snowflakes, formed directly from the freezing of the water vapor in the air.

  • storm - a disturbance of the normal condition of the atmosphere, manifesting itself by winds of unusual force or direction, often accompanied by rain, snow, hail, thunder, and lightning, or flying sand or dust.

  • stratus - a cloud of a class characterized by a gray, horizontal layer with a uniform base, found at a lower altitude than altostratus, usually below 8000 feet (2400 meters).

  • thunder - a loud, explosive, resounding noise produced by the explosive expansion of air heated by a lightning discharge.

  • thunderstorms - a transient storm of lightning and thunder, usually with rain and gusty winds, sometimes with hail or snow, produced by cumulonimbus clouds.

  • weather - the state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, cloudiness, moisture, pressure, etc.

Educational Standards

Common Core

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

In This Lesson

Students will participate in discussion before, during and after this activity to share ideas, clarify understanding, reflect and build upon the ideas of others.

CS Teachers

Decompose (break down) a larger problem into smaller sub-problems with teacher guidance or independently.

In This Lesson

Students will break down the process of analyzing cloud features, heights and weather patterns in both data-driven and creative open-ended formats.


Use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

In This Lesson

Students will use the 3Doodler pen to create 4 types of clouds, i.e., cumulonimbus, cirrus, cumulus, and stratus, enhancing their understanding of each cloud's features and related information.


Create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

In This Lesson

Students will use a 3Doodler pen to repurpose clouds as everyday objects, people or animals.


Use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

In This Lesson

Students will seek feedback from a partner to create a data-driven poster about clouds, and a creative repurposing of clouds.

Next Gen Science

Earth's Systems Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions.

In This Lesson

Students will represent data related to clouds in an open format poster, displaying typical weather conditions associated with each of the 4-cloud types.

Next Gen Science

Earth's Systems Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.

In This Lesson

Students will create models of 4-cloud types and describe ways that clouds form related weather patterns.

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