My children are captivated by🌨snow! So, to explore our natural affection, we are learning about mysteries of fascinating snowflakes by reading about them and by exploring the subject hands-on through snowflake crafts.
First, we observe and admire. Then we read …
The Secret Life of a Snowflake book (buy here) is truly an amazing source to learn about snowflakes. The book tells a beautiful full-color story about a journey of a single snowflake: from its creation in the clouds to its brief and sparkling appearance on a child’s mitten. The story is told by a physicist, featuring his brilliant photographs of real snowflakes. He explains how snowflakes are forming, water evaporating, clouds developing, ice crystals growing ~ all the elements of the weather that add up, flake by flake, to the white landscape of winter.
The point of relativity is so important for children: holding an actual penny, helped Adrian understand the various sizes snowflakes can grow to.
Extraordinary photographs of real snowflakes are truly amazing!
Details about why snowflakes always have six branches and why they vary in size really sparked children’s interest.
Some elementary science, such as water cycle and crystallization process explains why no two snowflakes are ever alike.
We made two paper snowflakes, and Julia was inspired to color her snowflake to resemble the one in the book after being so impressed by the brilliance of mesmerizing crystals lit up with colored light.
Children then painted their snowflakes with glitter, and I laminated their work.
I am sure we all heard the phrase “no two snowflakes are alike.” Well, this discovery was made in a small rural town of Vermont by W. A. Bentley (1865-1931). A self-educated farmer, Bentley attracted world attention with his pioneering work in the area of photomicrography, most notably his extensive work with snowflakes. By adapting a microscope to a bellows camera, and years of trial and error, he became the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885.
“For almost a century, W. A. Bentley caught and photographed thousands of snowflakes in his workshop in Vermont, and made available to scientists and art instructors samples of his remarkable work. His painstakingly prepared images were remarkable revelations of nature’s diversity in uniformity: no two snowflakes are exactly alike, but all are based on a common hexagon.”
In 1931, the American Meteorological Society gathered the best of Bentley’s pictures of snowflakes and had them published. Snowflakes in Photographs book (buy here) includes over 850 royalty-free, black-and-white snowflake photographs.
These images of real snowflakes are so appealing, revealing the intricacy and beauty of the design in the natural world.
To know more about a photographer, we read Snowflake Bentley book (buy here), which tells a story about a small boy in Vermont, who saw snowflakes as small miracles. The boy determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike, and each one is startlingly beautiful.
Children then made more paper ️snowflakes by✂️cutting thin strips and rolling them around the pen.
Coincidentally, Julia picked up a book from her school library about snowflakes before even knowing that I had prepared a ❄️snowflake study! She enjoyed reading Snowflakes Fall (buy here) to Adrian, cuddling up. The author poignantly compares snowflakes to children “No two the same – All beautiful” and the vocabulary was just right for her reading level (7 yo).
“Of all the forms of water, the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.” ~ Wilson Bentley (1865-1931).
“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder.” ~ Susan Orlean.
“There are few sights more pleasant to the eye than a wide cotton field when it is in bloom. It presents an appearance of purity, like an immaculate expanse of light, new-fallen snow.” ~ Solomon Northup.
Are your children fascinated by snowflakes? Do you have a favorite winter book?
For more hands-on ❄️Winter activities, see here ☃️ Winter Inspired Unit Study.