LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW
Depending on where you live, dealing with snow may be an unavoidable hassle on your daily commute, so why not make the best of it by bringing it into the classroom with you? No two snowflakes are alike. This is common knowledge. But do you know the story behind how it was discovered? Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley was a pioneer in the science of snow, devoting many winters to photographing individual snowflakes. Read Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, to inspire a new generation of snow scientists, then use STEAM to help them explore.
Infuse science into ELA time by researching and reading about the various types of snowflakes. Make the concepts concrete by physically creating the most common ones. Begin with a classic paper cutout to create familiar stellar dendrites. Cut paper plates to create plate snowflakes. Use a hexagonal prism net to cut and fold columns and capped columns. Popsicle sticks can be glued together to model simple stars, and sparkly toothpicks make great needles.
Apply what has been learned by looking at a picture of a snowflake under a microscope. Students can use what they know to first identify the type, then use a chart like the one below to infer what the weather was like when that snowflake was formed. Extend this portion of the lesson by suggesting a change in the weather and asking students to predict how the snowflakes would change.
Help students own the role of scientist with a culminating project that allows them to be the experts. Use green screen technology or an app like Telegami to put each student in front of an image and let them teach about it. Encourage students to make thier presentations more engaging by going beyond just what was shared in class. You may be surprised by what they come up with!
If snow seems to be a hit, continue on with it in other ways. Use math to track accumulation or snowfall rates. Design a snow removal tool, build a model, and test it with rice. Go outside with magnifying glasses and make observations. Listen to the students while they work; their questions and ideas may be the catalyst for your next big adventure.