Classroom 9: How to make a cloud in a jar

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – In this Wednesday edition of Classroom 9, you will be able to make a cloud in a jar with just a few items around the house!

First, gather up the following items:

  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Glass jar with a lid
  • Ice cubes
  • Hairspray

You’ll want to heat up your water, either on a stove or in the microwave for about 30 seconds to one minute.

It doesn’t necessarily need to be boiling, but you want to see some steam coming off the water.

Since you’ll be dealing with a hot liquid, you should try to get your parents involved to help out and be careful!

Next, pour the water into a glass jar. Quickly spray just a bit of hairspray into the jar and snap the lid on tight.

You’ll then want to put ice cubes on top of the lid.

What’s happening inside the jar is the steam from the hot water is rising up and sticking onto the hairspray in the air which is acting as extra particles (or what we call in meteorology “Cloud Condensation Nuclei”).

The warm air lifts until it reaches the stable layer created by the cold lid with the ice cubes. This causes the air to sink back down and condense!

It’s very similar to the process of how clouds are formed in the sky.

Sometimes when there are really powerful thunderstorms, they can bust through the lid (or what’s referred to as a cap) and you can see what’s called an “overshooting top.”

These kinds of thunderstorms will usually be severe and drop large hailstones!

After a moment of allowing the cloud to thicken up, just remove the lid and there’s your brand new cloud.

Check out all of the Classroom 9 experiments and activities at SiouxlandProud.com.

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