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Cloud Catching

Grade Level: 6-8

Introduction: Not surprisingly, scientists who study the cloud forest are interested in the clouds that are constantly covering the landscape.  Yet how can one capture a cloud to learn more about it?  Biologist Greg Goldsmith created a “cloud collector” in an attempt to do just that. Students will examine Goldsmith’s cloud collector to better understand his design and will contemplate the challenges inherent in “catching” a cloud.  Students will then follow the design process to design their own cloud catchers.  Students will also work with peers to discuss strengths and limitations of their designs. 

Objectives: Students will be able to: (1) design a product to address a problem, (2) anticipate and explain limitations of products.

National Science Standards: Design a solution or product (E); evaluate completed technological designs or products (E); communicate the process of technological design (E); understandings about scientific inquiry (A); understandings about science and technology (E); science and technology in society (F); science as a human endeavor (G).

Time: 100 minutes (5 minutes for Opening, 5 minutes for handout introduction, 20 minutes for “Monteverde’s Clouds” (handout), 30 minutes for “Designing a Cloud Catcher” (handout), 15 minutes for “Peer Conferencing” (handout), 10 minutes for group work, 15 minutes for closing)


Lesson Plan: PDF | DOC

Handout: PDF | DOC

Assessment: PDF | DOC

  1. Tools and Techniques of Field Work
  2. Science and Hypothesis Testing
  3. Cloud Catching
  4. Measuring Light in the Cloud Forest


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