For this episode of Jenna’s Science Corner, we’re going to do a cloud in a jar! It’s super easy and a great way to teach kids how clouds form in the sky.
For this experiment, you will need:
- A glass jar – represents our atmosphere
- Metal lid for the jar – represents the sky
- Hairspray – represents air particles
- A few ice cubes – represents cold air
- Boiling water – represents water vapor
Step 1: Pour boiling water into the glass jar, about 1/3 of the way.
2nd step: Put the metal lid on the jar, then place the ice cubes on it. Wait about a minute. You will see the glass become wet.
Step 3: Remove the lid with ice cubes and spray some hairspray in the jar. Quickly put the lid and ice cubes back on the jar. Wait another minute.
Step 4: When it looks like your cloud is starting to form in the jar, you can remove the lid and the ice cubes, and watch what happens! You should see a cloud emerging from the jar. (Of course, it won’t be as big or fluffy as the ones we see in the sky!)
The science behind the experiment: This experiment works because it replicates what is actually happening in our atmosphere. We have water vapor all around us, and when the sun heats it on the surface, it rises and evaporates. Once it’s really high in the sky, it encounters cold air. This allows it to condense, but for this condensation to occur we need to condensation nuclei. They are air particles floating in the atmosphere, such as dust, dirt, pollen, etc. Water vapor attaches to these particles and then forms into water droplets. The water droplets move and collide with each other, grow bigger, and eventually form a cloud!
If you would like to see a science experiment, send a message @JennaPetracciWX on Twitter/Facebook, or email [email protected]. We’d also love to see your photos if you’ve tried this one at home!