Updated September 2015

NOVA Labs: Cloud

In analyzing real data, students can predict future storms

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Subjects & Skills
Science, Critical Thinking

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NOVA Labs: Cloud lets kids dig deep into what clouds can tell us about our weather. Students can classify more than 200 clouds with the support of a key that includes visual examples and descriptions. Some teachers might be a little hesitant to use this activity since recalling the names of cloud types is specifically excluded in the Next Generation of Science Standards. 

The Reconstructing a Storm section gives students access to actual data, tools, and images used by scientists to predict hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones. Kids can see how Hurricane Sandy was tracked, why the storm was so destructive, and how scientists currently use this information to predict future storms. Kids can also analyze data like rainfall, storm height, and cloud temperatures to reconstruct the paths of a storm that have already happened. Once they've practiced with old storms, the Open Investigation section lets kids analyze map-overlay data to predict and study new storms as they're happening.  


  • Reconstructing a Storm -- Use data from previous storms to re-create their track.
  • Open Investigation -- Use current data to predict future storms.
  • The Climate Wildcard -- Predict what will happen if global warming causes a decrease in clouds.
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Featured review by
Donna M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Vista Visions Academy
Vista, United States
Students use Actual Data to Predict Megastorms!
I like the mix of teaching content through direct instruction and then allowing students to access data and draw conclusions on their own. The Educator Guide is well-organized with applicable NGSS standards aligned and additional NOVA resources linked to enable teachers to easily create a unit around this lab. An added bonus is the ability of students to connect to scientists who are working in the field.
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