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Sizzling Snowflake Crystal

Snow is so cool! But how is snow formed in the atmosphere? What effects does snow have on our lives? Students create an amazing 3-D snowflake crystal to explain their importance!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to investigate how snowflakes are formed. Read books such as "The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story" by Neil Waldman. How does snowfall contribute to drinking water supplies, crop growth, energy production, and glaciers? What economic effects does snow have?
    2. Every snowflake crystal has six arms. Make this bigger-than-life 3-D snowflake to demonstrate what you’re learning about the importance of snowfall.
    3. Using Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, ask students to draw six large (at least 5-inch or 13 cm) squares on white paper. Cut them out using Crayola Scissors. Save the end pieces. Decorate each of the six squares on both sides with colored pencils and Crayola Super Tip Washable Markers. These are the snowflake's arms.
    4. For each arm: Fold a square in half to form a triangle. Fold in half again. Hold the double-folded triangle point in one hand. Cut two lines, evenly spaced in the triangle, starting at the two folds. (Cut parallel to the unfolded side of the triangle.) STOP cutting about 1/2 inch before you get to the single fold. (On larger squares, make three or more cuts.)
    5. Open the square. Roll up the two inside corner cuts and tape them together. Flip the square over, roll the middle corners, and tape them together. Flip the square over again and tape the outer points. Repeat these steps for the other five arms.
    6. To form the snowflake crystal, tape the tips of all six pieces together in the center. Punch a hole at the top of one of the points. Thread string or ribbon through to hang.
    7. On the leftover paper, draw and cut out two small snowflakes. Color them. Tape them to the center of the snowflake. Suggest students add Crayola Glitter Glue to embellish the arms and center decorations. Air-dry the glitter glue.
    8. Students use their snowflakes to make oral presentations about the importance of snowfall—and then give it as a gift to hang from a window or doorway for the winter.
  • Standards

    LA: Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm; kg, g; lb, oz.; l, ml; hr, min, sec. Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit.

    MATH: Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.

    MATH: Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.

    SCI: Obtain information about different climatic areas to predict typical weather conditions expected in a particular season in a given area.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Snowflake : A Water Cycle Story by Neil Waldman; Water Dance by Thomas Walker; A Drop Of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick; The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder by Mark Cassino; Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

    A common rule-of-thumb is that 10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of water when melted. Students collaborate in small groups to discuss the differences in a heavy rainstorm as compared to a large snowfall or blizzard. After the discussions, have students experiment with snow to see how accurate the 10 inch rule is.

    Students work in small groups to analyze the effects of global warming and climate change on snowfall amounts in various parts of the world. What are the implications for these changes - for people? For animals? For plants?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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