Pedagogy in Action > Library > Interactive Lecture Demonstrations > Examples of Teaching with Demonstrations > Fog Chamber

Fog Chamber

This is an Exploratorium Science Snacks (more info) demonstration. Starting Point page organized by R.M. MacKay.

This resource received an Accept or Accept with minor revisions rating from a Panel Peer Review process

These materials were reviewed using face-to-face NSF-style review panel of geoscience and geoscience education experts to review groups of resources addressing a single theme. Panelists wrote reviews that addressed the criteria:

  1. scientific accuracy and currency
  2. usability and
  3. pedagogical effectiveness
Reviewers rated the resources:
  1. Accept
  2. Accept with minor revisions
  3. Accept with major revisions, or
  4. Reject.
They also singled out those resources they considered particularly exemplary, which are given a gold star rating.

Following the panel meetings, the conveners wrote summaries of the panel discussion for each resource; these were transmitted to the creator, along with anonymous versions of the reviews. Relatively few resources were accepted as is. In most cases, the majority of the resources were either designated as 1) Reject or 2) Accept with major revisions. Resources were most often rejected for their lack of completeness to be used in a classroom or they contained scientific inaccuracies.


This page first made public: Oct 3, 2005

This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Summary

Show how clouds and fog are created with a very simple physical model. Materials needed are: A large 1 gallon jar, latex glove, a little water, and matches.

Learning Goals

Learn that to make a cloud requires:

Context for Use

Appropriate for introductory geoscience courses with climate change or atmospheric science content.

Description and Teaching Materials

Fog Chamber from the Exploratorium Science Snacks.

This site contains:

Teaching Notes and Tips

An alternative, light weight, and durable demonstration that I (R. MacKay) use includes a clear 2-liter plastic soda pop bottle with lid, water, and incense (or just a match). I like the incense to add a little drama and humor to the demonstration. To make a cloud, put several table spoons of water in the bottle, shake it around a bit, two seconds worth of incense smoke, and screw the lid tightly on. Squeeze the bottle tightly and then release rapidly. After a few repetitions a cloud appears when the pressure is released and disappears when the pressure is applied (bottle squeezed). It is more fun and interesting if you don't put any smoke in the bottle to begin with and pretend that your demonstration fails. If students have read the chapter or understood what you told then 10 minutes before they will remind you that you need some condensation nuclei. I also use this in other classes where the concept of adiabatic cooling from expansion or adiabatic warming from compression are discussed. I like it because it always works, is easy to set up, and generates student interest.

Assessment

Follow-up discussions and questions on quizes or exams can help you assess student understanding of this demonstration.

References and Resources

Other Demonstrations at Exploratorium Science Snacks (more info)

See more Examples of Teaching with Demonstrations »