Monday, January 9, 2012

Science of Snow

"How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated! I should hardly admire more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat."
--Henry David Thoreau, 1856

What would winter be like without beautiful, unique snowflakes? I love snowflakes because they are so delicate and each one is very different. Snowflakes begin life as an ice crystal about the size of a speck of dust. As they fall toward the ground, they link up with other crystals, forming beautiful snowflakes. The most basic form of a snow crystal is a hexagonal prism. As they grow, branches sprout from the corners to make shapes that are more complex.

Try designing your own snow art or making paper snowflakes in your elementary homeschool science classes. See how many different styles you can make.

Snow Art

White, Red, Dark Blue, and Black construction paper
4 plastic containers
Pickling salt
Epsom salts
White granulated sugar

Put 1/2 cup of water into each of the 4 containers.
Add 2 tablespoons of each of the following to each of the containers. (Alum, pickling salt, white granulated sugar, Epsom salts.)

Dip a Q-Tip in one of the containers and draw a picture on the black construction paper. Using another Q-Tip, dip it in a different container and draw on the red construction paper, and then continue to the white and dark blue. Use a different Q-Tip for each container.

Let your projects dry completely. Use a magnifying glass to view the crystals and geodes made by the salts, sugar, and alum.

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