Hello! I am in the early brainstorming process of creating a take & make focused on snowflakes and symmetry for this winter. Ideally I’d like to offer it to a broad variety of ages - because why leave anyone out? This could mean several kits aimed at different age groups or a single activity that can be tweaked. I’m thinking paper snowflakes, kaleidoscopes, nature observations, photography, fun approachable math and more…
Is anyone else on the same wavelength? Has anyone tried something similar at their library or have an inspirational resource that they’d like to share?
Pictured here, for inspiration, are Theodor Horydczak’s snowflake photographs courtesy of the Library of Congress.
I was scrolling through IG earlier and saw a beautiful inlaid wood pattern that reminded me of quilts. I’m not a quilter, but community made blocks could be laid together, or a take and make could have a few different pieces to layout and hand sew or hot glue together perhaps?
You probably know there’s a beautiful, Caldecott-winning book called Snowflake Bentley about another early snowflake scientist.
Here’s a site: https://snowflakebentley.com/
The book: Snowflake Bentley (book) - Wikipedia
And a video from PBS which begins by talking about him and dives into the science: The Science of Snowflakes - YouTube
To stay scientific, the main thing is to make sure those snowflakes have 6-sided symmetry! That PBS video gets close but doesn’t quite get to what it is about the H20 molecule that gets it to grow in 6 directions at once the exact same way. If you find a good explainer about this, please share!
I also just found this handout a public library put together for making snowflakes in Tinkercad. I think the team at Autodesk had some educator workshop about this a few years ago I went to.
TurtleArt is sometimes used for snowflakes, and there are lots of remixable snowflake projects in Scratch.
I love the community building aspect of this. One of my reservations with take and makes is that we lose connection with the patron, especially in a stem style program. This is a great suggestion! Thank you.
Thank you thank you!! I am familiar with the book and the Snowflake Bentley museum is not too far from us. I found a DIY snowflake photography box online and thought I might set one up on the front lawn of our library this winter for people to try out.
The science parameters are very much appreciated. I am concerned that I will be sending home a kit filled with snowflakes crafts and want to avoid this. I’ll definitely be searching for an explainer for the 6 sided growth and will report back with my findings.
Oh also there’s this online tool that models symmetrical snowflakes so you can see how you need to cut to make an intricate pattern that won’t totally fall apart. dangries.com/rectangleworld/PaperSnowflake
I absolutely love doing snowflakes with kids of all ages. And adding in the scientific aspect makes it even more valuable. For younger kids, just learning to fold and cut simple snowflakes is great fine motor skill practice. For older kids, it is spatial perception too. I have made great window displays where we cover an entire picture window with the snowflakes the patrons cut out. And in sunny Southern California, it allows us to experience some joy around winter time I like to help kids figure out some simple symmetry tricks like cutting hearts into the snowflake.
There is a cute template from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to cut out figures. Probably kind of difficult but very cute. Science Snowflake Cut-Out Patterns | The Franklin Institute
And some beautiful photographs of snowflakes on Scientific American: Snowflake Structure Still Mystifies Physicists - Scientific American
Love this! I could see the scientist snowflakes as a window display paired with children’s biographies of each scientist. Thanks for sharing the links.
I absolutely LOVE this idea. We just found out that we’re probably back to virtual programs in January (boooo!), and I was thinking of maybe something like this that we could display in the library as a fun activity.
I found a website called First Palette that has some really neat templates that you can print out, and they range from somewhat easy to advanced. It even shows what size to cut the paper to before folding, which is kind of handy. I thought it’d make a nice jumping-off point to introduce the idea to them, and then maybe hand them a blank template and let them design their own (which this site also conveniently has!).
We are using this in a program at a House Museum next weekend. We have hexagon wood frames for tracing, and origami paper that can really fold down, comes in pretty colors and is still easy to cut. Or you can just use a paper template for the hexagon. Even really simple cuts will come out great. I attached a hexagon and some folding instructions one of our staff created in case its useful. We love the app above as well!
This is a fabulous resource. Thank you so much!
Thanks for sharing your ideas, I am creating adventure backpacks for our library . The one I am currently working on is a Winter Adventure Pack and I came across this wonderful tool you can DYI it takes pictures of snowflakes using your phone and a tool that attaches to your camera. The link from the Snowmelt project not only details the impact of climate change on the shape of snowflakes now, but also includes the snowflake kit. Really a great resource.