Snow Activities

Here are some science activities we are planning on doing that correlate with our Winter Reading.

Snowflake Imprints

This project is done outdoors during a snowstorm. We plan on doing this several times during the winter, recording the weather conditions and their effect on the type of snowflakes. We will be recording: temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, each time we make imprints.

Materials: Shoebox with lid, Acetate (Grafix Clear Film) cut to fit inside shoebox, Krylon plastic spray (we choose blue), cardboard cut to the same size of acetate, wooden spring clothespins (two per project)

Important: Keep all materials in the freezer for atleast 1 hour before doing the project.

  1. Place acetate on the cardboard and secure with clothespins.
  2. Spray acetate with Krylon. Work Quickly!
  3. Allow a few snowflakes to land on the acetate.
  4. Place acetate in the shoebox and cover with a lid so no more snow falls on the acetate.
  5. Leave outside for atleast 1 hour to allow the Krylon to dry.
  6. When dry, a replica of the snowflakes will be left on the acetate.
  7. Observe replica snowflakes with a hand lens or a microscope.
  8. You may want to classify the snowflakes using Ken Libbrecht’s Field Guide to Snowflakes.
  9. If you keep a nature journal you might want to draw a picture of your snowflake with a ruler and protractor.

Some questions to ponder: What type of crystals formed? Is there more than one type? How big are the crystals? Are any alike?

Borax Snowflakes

We found this activity at Home Science Tools. They are a wonderful supplier of science equipment for homeschooling families.

Make real crystal snowflakes to decorate your home using borax. This activity takes about 30 minutes of active preparation and then overnight to set.

Materials

  • Wide mouth jars – one for each snowflake (can reuse to make more snowflakes)
  • Pipe cleaners (Depending on the size of the jar, you may be able to cut one piece into three smaller pieces. Use the diameter of the jar’s mouth to measure how long the pipe cleaners need to be. Use white pipe cleaners to make traditional snowflakes, or use colored pipe cleaners and food coloring for more colorful snowflakes.)
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Pencils – one for each snowflake (have as many pencils as you have jars)
  • Water
  • One-cup measuring cup
  • Borax such as 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster
  • Food coloring – don’t need this if making traditional white snowflakes

Procedure

  1. For each snowflake, twist together three pipe cleaners in the center so that you make a 6-pointed star. Use scissors to trim down the ends of the pipe cleaners so they are all approximately the same length and can fit in the jar.
  2. Take a piece of string and tie it to one end of the star. Connect the string to the next point by twisting the string around the pipe cleaner. Continue around until you connect all the points together with the string, making a snowflake shape.
  3. Attach one of the pipe cleaner points with string to the shaft of the pencil. You should use just enough string so that when the pencil is resting on the mouth of the jar, the snowflake can be lowered into the jar and hang suspended without touching the mouth or the sides of the jar. Place the snowflake in the jar to make sure that it will fit and will hang suspended inside the jar. Take the snowflake out of the jar.
  4. Use a teakettle or microwave to boil enough water to fill each of the jars. When adding the water to the jars, measure out how many cups of water are needed to fill the jar. For every cup of water placed in the jar, mix in three tablespoons of borax. This will make a super saturated borax solution. (If using the optional methods below, add the food coloring in with this step.) Stir the borax solution with a spoon until dissolved.
  5. Hang your snowflakes in the jars so that they are completely suspended in the solution. Let your snowflakes sit overnight. Gently remove your now crystal covered snowflakes.

Optional: Try these methods to make your snowflakes even more unique!

  • Use colored pipe cleaners and food coloring to make different colored snowflakes. Use three pink pipe cleaners and one drop of red food coloring to make pink snowflakes, or green pipe cleaners and several drops of green food coloring – you get the idea. You may also want to try using yellow pipe cleaners and blue food coloring to make a greenish tinted snowflake or use different colors of pipe cleaners. Have fun making several different color combinations.
  • Make different designs or patterns with the string and the pipe cleaners. Make two circles to connect the pipe cleaners or try zigzagging between the points. Use thread or thin string for more intricate patterns.

Melt Snow

  • Weigh a quart size jar. Record weight.
  • Fill jar with clean snow. Weigh jar. Record weight.
  • Predict and mark where the melted snow water will come to on the jar. Measure with a ruler and record prediction.
  • Cover containers.
  • Predict how long it will take for the snow to melt.
  • Check on containers periodically until all the snow has melted. Record time.
  • Record weight and water levels of the melted snow in thier containers.
  • Discuss the results.
  • Now test the melted snow for purity. Pour the melted snow through a clean coffee filter.
  • Pour distilled water through a clean coffee filter.
  • Discuss results.

Snow Imprints and Snow Melt were adapted from Project Seasons.

No Snow? No worries. How about a Blizzard in a Bucket? Not up for a Blizzard? Try this, Instant Snow in a Test Tube.

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3 Responses to “Snow Activities”


  1. 1 skimac January 30, 2007 at 10:46 am

    I’ve wanted to try the snow imprint experiments before. Have you done it yet? How did it work?

  2. 2 chellebell January 30, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Not yet. We just bought the materials yesterday and now we are waiting for snow…

  3. 3 krisvog February 1, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    What awesome snow flake activities. Thanks for posting.

    God bless you.


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Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educator’s Conference

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