Kids love to make paper snowflakes. Here is a little spin on snowflake art for all aged kids that includes science and math concepts: crystal structures and symmetry.
Teach Kids about the geometry & science of snowflakes
Each snowflake is made up of tiny ice crystals. Snow begins as a speck of dust, or pollen in a cloud. Water vapor cools and freezes around these little particles and then as that new ice crystal moves around the cloud more ice crystals begin to form around it, eventually creating a snowflake.
Those beautiful intricate snowflake shapes that we see flying through the air come from the combination of these different ice crystal shapes. Snow scientists have given them names, like “sectored plates” and “simple stars”. For our young children, the names of the crystals are not important, but understanding that each beautiful, unique flake is made up of different shaped ice crystals is.
Snowflakes are symmetrical, meaning they have the same shape on both sides. Each snowflake has six points. Put these crystal shapes together with six-sided symmetry and you’ve got the making of a beautiful art project!
Crafting and making geometric snowflake art with shapes
All you’ll need is some dark construction paper, (blue or black works great) some white paper or download this printable, some scissors and a glue stick.
Cut out some basic shapes to build the snowflake with. If you always cut at least six of each shape, or multiples of six, it is easy to keep the idea of symmetry as you build your flake. Play around with the shapes to find a design that you like. Each snowflake will be a little different, just like snowflakes in nature!
This activity can become a permanent piece of art by using the glue stick to attach the white shapes to the background, or you can keep the pieces loose and create all sorts of different snowflake shapes. Store the pieces in a baggie when you are finished and you’ll be able to do the activity again another time.
Although very young children might find the idea of symmetry difficult in their artwork, whatever they create will be unique and beautiful just like a real snowflake.
If you want to explore the idea of symmetry with your children further go on a symmetry scavenger hunt around the house.
- What items can you find that are symmetrical?
- What living things can you think of that are symmetrical? (Hint: look in the mirror!)
With older kids, challenge them to create six-pointed symmetry in their pictures.
- How many different combinations can they make with just one set of shapes?
- Can they combine shapes to make different patterns?
- The sky is the limit! Soon you’ll have all sorts of beautiful snowflake designs to enjoy from the warmth of your house.
Sarah Benton Feitlinger, M.Ed. is a former Preschool-6th science teacher, mom, blogger and science curriculum developer. She is passionate about educating children, and loves anything and everything science! Check out her blog, Share it! Science for fun science activities, lessons, science news learning product reviews and other resources for kids, teachers, homeschoolers and parents. Follow her on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
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