STREAM Activity: Snowflake Science

Create a snowflake that is unique just like you!

Activity best for children age 2 and up

Have you ever heard that no two snowflakes are exactly alike? While that’s true, not all snowflakes are completely different from each other. If you looked at hundreds of snowflakes under a microscope, you would notice some spectacular patterns. All snowflakes fit into distinctive categories of shapes. The reason why there are patterns of snowflakes is because of different temperatures and humidifies that alter the formation of the water crystals. If the temperature is closer to 32 degree Fahrenheit, snowflakes look more like flat plates, but if it is extremely cold, snowflakes will look more like stars or the leaves of a fern. When there is a lot of humidity, this is when the snowflakes have many edges and are mesmerizing to look at. Physics decides the shape and sizes of snowflake while math determines how unique each one is – and that is why they are infinitely special. In this activity, we are going to explore some of the different kinds of snowflakes that might be new to you! 

Screen Shot 2021 12 22 At 8.09.19 AM

Materials you’ll need:

Pipe cleaners

Guiding Questions:

What patterns do you notice in each type of snowflake?

How does temperature and climate change the way snowflakes look? 

Types of Snowflakes

Stellar Dendrites 

Stellar Dendrites are the beautiful crystals with six branches that make them look like stars.

Screen Shot 2021 12 22 At 8.11.36 AM

Capped Column 

These have a column in the middle and then two flat plates on each side. If you see one, you’re lucky because they are not that common.

Screen Shot 2021 12 22 At 8.12.38 AM

Triangular Plates 

No one knows why these rare snowflakes turn into triangles!

Screen Shot 2021 12 22 At 8.13.39 AM

Hexagonal Prism 

These are usually so small that you need a microscope to see them.

Screen Shot 2021 12 22 At 8.14.36 AM

Step 5

Make your favorite masterpiece from Mother Nature!

Screen Shot 2021 12 22 At 8.15.21 AM

Grown Ups-Are you looking for more ways to extend your child’s learning? Check out these extension activities to build upon today’s STREAM activity!

Reading Connections:

“Snowflake Bentley” written by Jacqueline Briggs and Illustrated by Mary Azarian

Screen Shot 2021 12 22 At 8.15.50 AM

Math Connections:

Do you notice any mathematical patterns in the snowflakes? You might have noticed a magic number 6. That’s because snowflakes have something called six-fold radial symmetry that comes from the crystalline structure. In other words, all snowflakes have this pattern because they are crystals.