NASA eClips™ Educators Work with Douglas Wilder Middle School Students to Design and Construct Cloud Cover Estimators

Educators with the National Institute of Aerospace’s (NIA) Center for Integrative STEM Education (CISE) worked virtually with 15 sixth-grade students from Douglas Wilder Middle School in Henrico County, Va. on February 10, 2021 to design and construct cloud cover estimators. Sarah Baker, a first-year teacher, won an opportunity to co-teach a lesson with NASA eClips educators through a NASA eClips raffle held during the 2020 Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) Professional Development Institute in November 2020. Baker worked with NASA eClips™ Educators to select and plan the instructional topic, Earth’s Energy Balance.

Several weeks prior to the lesson, students were asked to gather the readily available supplies needed for the design challenge at their home. Students were able to explore more about the role clouds play in Earth’s Energy Balance through watching and discussing Real World “Earth’s Energy Balance – Energy In and Energy Out” and Real World “Earth’s Energy Balance – Small Changes, Big Impact.” Utilizing the Our World: Designing a Cloud Cover Estimator Educator Guide, NASA eClips educators guided students through the steps of the engineering design process and encouraged students to work collaboratively with classmates in break-out rooms to draw their cloud cover estimator designs. Afterwards, students used their design and supplies to construct cloud cover estimators that could be used to safely calculate the percent of cloud cover in the sky and shared the results with their peers.

To watch Real World “Earth’s Energy Balance – Energy In and Energy Out,” please visit

To watch Real World “Earth’s Energy Balance – Small Changes, Big Impact,” please visit

To view NASA Earth’s Energy Budget Poster, please visit

To view the GLOBE Cloud Identification Chart, please visit