Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Make Your Own 3-D Cloud Chart


  In 1803 a British pharmacist named Luke Howard devised a system for classifying clouds into three main forms or types: cirrus from the Latin word for a lock or wisp of hair; cumulus, meaning a pile or heap and stratus, from the Latin for layered or spread out. Later scientists added alto, meaning high and nimbus, Latin for dark rain cloud, to create a classification system of ten major cloud formations that is still in use today.
Be aware that if you paint the foam board, it will bow some as the paint dries. Another option, of course, is to buy colored foam board. We decided to paint ours because we already had white foam board. We dappled it for a sky look.

We decided to make a cloud chart using a foam board, some paint and cotton balls glued to the board. 
First we painted the foam board blue for the sky.
Then we divided the board into four columns across and three rows down.
We labeled the columns: Cirrus (wispy), Cumulus (puffy), Nimbus (shapeless) and Stratus ( layer, or "blanket"), for the basic cloud shapes.

We labeled the rows: Cirro ("wispy", icy, over 20,000 feet) , Alto ("higher" than usual, between 6-20,000 feet) and Strato low "layer", below 6,000 feet), for the altitudes of the clouds.
Now, we needed to add the clouds made from cotton balls and to shape them as closely as we could to the clouds for each block in the grid. Even though the name could be figured out by the chart, we labeled each cloud type to make it easy.
Some of the clouds include some dark rain clouds, so we added that with some  dabs of watered down paint. Some of the clouds are gray at the bottom and white at the top.
We attached a string for hanging, and now we have a cloud chart to display and use.

sources and inspiration:


  1. What a great way to clarify those in the kids' minds.

    1. I like the fact that we can just keep it on the wall next to a big window and they can refer to it as they need or want to.

  2. I love this version, I've seen a couple of different cloud versions, but this one is my favorite.

    1. Thank you. I found it helpful for them to learn the names of the clouds as it is just the two parts of the name from the row and column put together.

  3. Anonymous12.7.13

    I love this, the way it hangs for reference. I think Rose and I are going to have to make one for her to watch the clouds with soon.

  4. I loved learning about clouds in school, it was one of the few things that has stayed with me. I love this way of learning them - thank you for sharing.


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