Viewing Snowflakes

Grade Levels: 3 - 5


  • Students will observe snowflakes.
  • Students will document the shapes they see.
  • Students will learn to identify star crystals.


  • A snowy day
  • Outside work space
  • Viewing platform: dark cloth, or black construction paper
  • Magnifying glass
  • Notebooks and pens
  • Types of Snow handout


  1. While inside, review the Types of Snow handout.
  2. Take the class outside to observe snowflakes.
  3. Snowflakes are delicate creatures and their fine crystalline shape can vanish at the touch of warmth.
  4. You'll need to freeze your viewing surface (keep it in the fridge or outside in a cold dry area).
  5. Students should wear a scarf over their mouth and nose to avoid melting the flakes with their breath.
  6. When the snow is falling, hold the platform aloft to catch a few flakes.
  7. View with the magnifying glass.
  8. Students should immediately draw in their notebooks the shapes they viewed.
  9. Ask students to identify which type of crystal they observed.

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