January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

President’s Pick: Cloud in a Bottle

Posted: Monday, August 1st, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy

Purpose: The purpose of this activity is to model cloud formation in a 2 liter clear, colorless soda bottle through the process of adiabatic cooling.

Content: Clouds form in the atmosphere when the amount of water vapor that the air can hold exceeds the capacity.  When the capacity of the air to hold the water is exceeded, water molecules condense on small particles to form clouds.  Various factors affect the capacity of the air, primarily temperature and pressure. Most people have witnessed the condensation of water vapor due to drops in temperature (fog on car windows is an example) however few ever realize that as pressure drops, the capacity of the air to hold water in vapor form decreases.  This factor accounts for the formation of summer thunder head clouds near mountains.
For instance, in July when warm moist air from the Sacramento Valley rises over the Sierra Nevada, it condenses into ice crystals that appear as clouds.  This is largely due to the decreased pressures at high elevations as well as cooling.

Materials

2 liter soda bottle- clear, colorless, with label removed plus cap

Matches, incense, or chalk dust (source of dust or smoke)

Warm water (30 ml per bottle) water does not have to be hot.

Procedure

  1. Put small amount of warm water in the 2 liter bottle (it should barely cover the bottom)
  2. Attach the cap and shake or swirl the bottle to encourage the spread of water vapor throughout the inside.
  3. Strike a match (Incense can be used instead of burning matches)
  4. Remove the cap, blow out the match and drop the extinguished match into the bottle so that some of the smoke enters the bottle at the same time. (chalk dust can be used instead of matches)
  5. Attach the cap firmly
  6. Squeeze the bottle then release quickly so that you hear a pop sound.
  7. Repeat this step several times.
  8. Look inside the bottle and watch for fog to form when the squeeze is released.
  9. It might be helpful to shine a flashlight through the bottle to facilitate seeing the cloud.

Questions

  1. What is the purpose of the smoke or chalk dust?
  2. What would happen if you tried this without the smoke/dust?
  3. Where have you seen  cloud formation caused by decreases in pressure besides in your bottle and over mountains in the summer?

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California, Davis and is CSTA’s president.

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

2 Responses

  1. A great meteorology activity. I have done it with a bicycle pump and a stopper to build up pressure and then quickly release it.

  2. This is really cool! I will use the idea when demonstrating changes of state (from liquid to a gas).

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Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

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Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

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Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.