The idea came from the blog, We Made That, who’s children must think she’s magical. Based on the fun we’ve gotten from her blog, I would tend to agree.
This was a remarkably cool experiment. We started first by adding hot water to the jar. We have a keurig as part of our playgroup (for everyone’s sanity) which helped. I offered a cooler full of ice cubes to the children, and they placed several in a paper bowl on top of the jar. I gave it just a few moments, then lit a match and dropped it in.
Instantly, you could start to see the cloud form. The science behind it? Comes directly from We Made It’s post, “The atmosphere needs three ingredients to make a cloud, Moist Air, Cooling, and Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN). CCN (also known as cloud seeds) are small particles on which water vapor condenses. In this experiment we had to make our own CNN’s that is why we lit the match and threw it in the bottle. The little bit of smoke from the match provides a surface for the cloud to form. After you put the match in the jar and put the lid back on you will observe the cloud growing and moving in a circular pattern, this happens as a result of the warm air rising and the cool air sinking.”
Sounds good, right? What I do know is that there were many matches lit and extinguished as the children watched in awe. Then lifted the bowl and actually played with their cloud as it floated away.