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Cloud in A Jar – Science Experiment

We started learning about the weather without a curriculum but with natural curiosity. Between books that we own and books from the library, we started learning more about weather one weekend. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to make a cloud in a jar with hairspray?

Cloud in A Jar – Science Experiment

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What you need for this cloud in a jar experiment:

  • a large jar
  • hot (boiling) water
  • a plate to fit over the top of your jar
  • aerosol hair spray
  • ice cubes

What you need to do for your science experiment:

Put about four or so ice cubes on the plate. We used massive ice cubes meant for whiskey. It meant less water mess, less fast melting, and worked just the same as using regular ice cubes, we’ve done it both ways.

Fill your jar about a third of the way up with hot water.

Spray a quick blast of an aerosol hairspray into the jar and very quickly put your plate on top of the jar.

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The science behind what is happening:

By pouring hot water into a jar and trapping it, you created warm, moist air.  As the warm air inside the jar rose, it was cooled by the ice on top of the jar.

When the water vapor cooled, it wanted to turn back into liquid, but it needed to condense onto a surface. The aerosol spray provided cloud condensation nuclei: a surface for the water vapor to condense into tiny cloud droplets.

The cloud swirled inside the jar due to the circulation of warm air rising and cold air sinking. I shared this quick video on Instagram after did it.

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Making Clouds in a Jar

Making Clouds in a Jar

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Watch a cloud form, and move around in a jar.

Materials

  • ice cubes
  • boiling water
  • aerosol hair spray

Tools

  • a jar
  • a small plate (for going over the mouth of your jar)

Instructions

    1. Put about four or so ice cubes on the plate.
    2. Fill your jar about a third of the way up with hot water.
    3. Spray a quick blast of an aerosol hairspray into the jar and very quickly put your plate on top of the jar.

If you try this out at home I would love to see how it goes for you and what your kids think of it.

You might also want to check our arctic animal science experiment for another weather-related science experiment.

Similar posts that you may also be interested in:

Making Rain in a Jar

Weather in a Jar: Tornado

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