How a Snowflake is Formed by Its Fall

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Show Students How a Snowflake is Formed

 

Turn your snowflake art activity into a learning experience that includes a little science and math! Kids will be naturally curious about why no two snowflakes are alike.

Show students that the way a snowflake falls determines its design.
Here is a little explanation.

The Hexagon Shape

The hexagon shape formed when water freezes is a result of the structure of the molecules.

 
diagram showing how the water molecules form a hexagon when they freeze.  Also how the corners collect more molecules because they stick out.
 
 
 
 

Why Does It Have 6 Arms?

 
If the humidity is high enough and the temperature isn’t too cold,
molecules start to build up on the corners.
 
diagram showing how a snowflake is formed by the arms that grow from the corners of a hexagon.
 
 
As the frozen snow crystals fall, they stick together and make snowflakes.
The snow crystals pass through different humidity and temperature levels in the atmosphere as they fall.

Each snow crystal takes a slightly different path. Each path yields a different combination of shapes that form on the arms of the snow crystal.

 
 

Temperature and Humidity Affect How a Snowflake is Formed

 
chart showing different shapes made by different humidity and teperatures

 

What Do Snowflakes Actually Look Like?

 
photomicrographs that W. A. Bentley took in the 1920s showing the hexagon shapes in a snowflake
 

Show Students How a Snowflake is Formed

If you would like more information to present to your students about how the atmospheric conditions form the design of snowflakes, I’ve made a presentation that you will get in my 

Snowflake Drawing Lesson

How to Draw a Snowflake

In this lesson, there are also some instructions on how to draw a snowflake. Finally, students will use some math to measure the angle of the snowflake arms. 

 
showing how to use a protractor to make the 6 arms of a snowflake

 

Once they’ve drawn the arms, they can add shapes to each arm using radial symmetry.  

  

If you think your students would love learning about this information, keep reading. My Snowflake Drawing Lesson includes the information in this blog post and much more. 

 

You will get a PDF presentation to show your students about why no two snowflakes are alike, a PDF technique demonstration, drawing handouts for students, word wall words, and assessments all in my 

Snowflake Drawing Lesson

 
 
If you would like some more art lesson ideas for using your snowflakes, check out 

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Don’t forget to pin this!

A blue watercolor background with a single white snowflake. The text says, "Why are not two Snowflakes Alike" - Step-by-Step Demo".
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Stacey Peters

Stacey Peters

I create engaging drawing resources that help students build confidence and express themselves through art. I'm a former elementary art teacher of 25 years turned business owner. Giving you the tools you need to bring more drawing into your classroom brings me joy.

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I create engaging drawing resources that help students build confidence and express themselves through art.

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