The second week's activity was for the students to research and create a cloud classification system. It was meant to be done as a Problem Based Learning exercise, but our kids did not do well with this approach at all. The difficulty was that none of them were adept at extracting information from their book sources, so that only led to confusion when trying to pull things together as a group. Ultimately I gave them each books to take home so that next week they could all bring back information they learn.
I have been looking for online resources for the kids to look at, too. One of the best sites I have found is Windows to the Universe, which has a wealth of information for all fields of science. Their teacher resource section for Atmosphere and Weather has several activities relating to clouds. It also has this nifty cloud viewer to print and use for classification. We have decided to continue our co-op until the end of June so I can find some extension activities here if we finish the NASA packet. The student page about clouds has a lot of great information for the kids to read.
Library of Books, Links and More: Crazy About Clouds was NOAA's JetStream--Online School for Weather section about clouds. They have two interactive cloud charts (main page and classification page,) a pdf cloud observation log, and a cloud identification wheel to cut out and use.
Luke Howard, the man who named the clouds. It's from The Weather Notebook, a great resource from the Mt. Washington Observatory that is still available though stopped posting new material in 2005.
NASA Virtual Skies. This has all things aviation, from math, to physics, to weather, to technology. It includes teacher resources as well. I found great information on clouds including a chart of cloud map symbols.
Hopefully the kids will do a little better with the group dynamics once they all have some information under their belts. I am going to read more about PBL from a teaching perspective to find some tips to encourage my students.