Did you know that a man named Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley was a pioneering researcher who studied snowflakes for most of his life? Snowflake Bentley, as he is affectionately called, was the first person to take a photograph of a snowflake.
Much of what we know about snowflakes is due to the painstaking work that Snowflake Bentley did. His biography is a testament to the power of following one’s dreams. We spent a day reading his story and then doing a paper snowflake cutting craft to learn more about the snowflakes that so captured Snowflake Bentley’s imagination.
Note: For more fun and educational winter activities, see my Winter Activities for Kids page.
We began learning about snowflakes by reading the book Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.
When Bentley was young, his parents purchased a camera for him that allowed him to pursue his snowflake research by photographing individual snowflakes.
Bentley’s images were eventually published in a book titled Snowflakes in Photographs. I had never seen snowflakes in such striking detail until I saw Bentley’s photographs. Just stunning.
Through our reading we learned a few facts about snowflakes. For example, we learned that snowflakes have six sides. (There are some exceptions when snowflakes have 3 sides or 12 sides, but 6 sides is the general rule.) We also learned that no two snowflakes are alike.
A fabulous book that dives more into depth on how snowflakes are made is The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino.
After reading about Snowflake Bentley, we decided to make our own six-sided snowflakes. The trick to making six-sided snowflakes is to fold the paper the right way. For a quick tutorial, watch this minute-long video that shows how to make a six-sided snowflake.
Having learned to fold paper for a six-sided snowflake, I gathered tissue paper and scissors for my kids.
We folded our papers, and then the cutting began!
The kids loved unfolding their snowflakes to see the patterns they had created.
They decided to make a collage of all their snowflakes.
And look, no two are alike!
More winter learning resources
More posts about snowflakes from Gift of Curiosity: