Exploring Earth: Investigating Clouds

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“Exploring Earth: Investigating Clouds” is a hands-on activity in which visitors create a cloud in a bottle and explore it with laser light. The activity is connected to current and ongoing NASA mission research. Participants learn about ways that NASA uses satellite technology to observe clouds from above and explore ways that ground-based data, including some generated through citizen science projects like the GLOBE Observer app, are also used to study Earth’s cloud cover from below.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 2 2-liter clear plastic “soda” bottles
  • 2 Fizz KeeperTM bottle air pumps
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Red laser pointer
  • Investigate the Sky Today worksheet
  • GLOBE postcards
  • Pencils
  • Observing Clouds information sheet
  • Activity and facilitator guides


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Light and Optics
      • Lasers
      • Reflection and Refraction
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • National Informal STEM Education Network


Funding Source:

  • NASA, NNX16AC67A