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In this lesson, students craft and classify snowflakes


Art, Science  



Title – Flakes of Snow
By – Monica Burke
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Art
Grade Level – 2

1. Purpose of Activity: No two snowflakes are exactly alike. But snow crystals do have some similarities and can be grouped into general categories. This activity will show students snow as a weather condition and help them to understand more about snow and the different categories that it is classified by.

2. Approximate time Involved: 45 minutes

3. Background Information:

  • Technically speaking, the term “snowflake” is defined as a cluster of snow crystals that have stuck together as they fall to the ground.
  • The world’s biggest snowflake was 38 cm in diameter.
  • A large snowflake can fall at a speed of 5 km/h.
  • Different kinds of snow crystals result from certain combinations of conditions-particularly temperature and moisture level- in the clouds and near the Earth’s surface.
  • There is an international system for grouping snow crystals into ten general categories. The international system applies to falling snow. The system is based on the structure of the crystals.
  • Sleet consists of frozen raindrops, usually small, smoother, and transparent.
  • Hail is solid precipitation made up of a solid center and layer upon semitransparent layer of ice.
  • Snow crystals change when they reach the ground and lose their original identity.
  • As a snow crystal melts, its parts blend into a spherical shape and it ends up as a drop of water.

4. Materials:

      Black construction paper

      Magnifying glass


5.Safety Considerations:

    Students should wear proper clothing for going outside in the winter months to collect snow. By proper wear, consider wearing gloves, boots, hats and winter coat.

6. References Used:

      Bosak, S. V. (2000).

Science Is…A source book of fascinating facts, projects and activities

    . Markham, Ontario, Canada: Scholastic Canada Ltd. (Original work published 1991)

7. Procedures:

      1. Pre-assessment
      2. Description of Student Learning Activities:
      Engage the student’s interest by telling them that we will be going outside in the snow today for a science investigation. Let the students know that we will be investigating snowflakes. This is the time that the teacher will show the students the types of snow and ice crystals chart and explain. The teacher will also share the information of the largest snowflake.
      The students will go outside in groups of two to four to explore the snow. The students will collect snowflakes on a piece of black construction paper that has been placed in a freezer beforehand so that it cools before it is used. The students will then bring the snowflakes to a picnic table outside and start investigating the snowflakes with a magnifying glass. The students will observe if they are all alike. They will determine how many sides they have. They will try to measure the snowflakes in millimeters. Then they will decide which category of the ten general groups do they fall in to. How many different snowflakes can you find? What happens to the shape of a snowflake as it melts?
      At this time, the teacher will go around to each group explaining what they are looking at and how they can interpret this information.
      The students will then return inside to build on their understanding of the concept by applying it to a new situation. They will make their own snowflakes by folding a circular piece of paper in half, in thirds, and then in half again. They will then cut a pattern into the paper and open up the flake. Into which of the ten general groups does your snowflake fall?
    The students will then write their name and the category they believe that their snowflake falls into and pass it into the teacher for evaluation.

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