Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Snowflake Catching Day

"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated." ~William Bentley

It has been a virtual snow-less winter here in Vermont. Who wants to live in the cold without all the fun of playing in the snow?
We are under a Winter Advisory from 4 am - 7 pm tomorrow, so I've got all my fingers and toes crossed that we get a HUGE amount of snow.
Granted shoveling the driveway is no fun...but building snowmen, sledding, snowball fights, and snow angels with the kids make it all worthwhile!

The best days to catch snowflakes are when we the snow is falling with big fluffy flakes. So I'm not sure what the snow will be like tomorrow but I'm hoping that it's a good snowflake day.

In the winter, we keep a couple of pieces of dark colored felt and hand lens in our unheated garage for when the moment strikes to catch snowflakes. My son knows where I keep them so sometimes he goes and grabs them when he's outside playing. You could also use black construction paper, but I find the flakes kind of stand up against the hairy texture of the felt. (In a pinch, you can also just use a dark colored glove, like in the photo above.) Whatever you use, just make sure that your landing surface is cold. So store your felt or construction paper in the freezer or in an unheated garage.

I have also made some pretty cute "Snowflake Catcher Necklaces" for my preschool class.  To make them I took old CD's and covered one side with dark colored felt. On the other side I drew examples of a few types of common snowflakes and made a pocket to store a small magnifying glass.  I added a long ribbon so it could be worn as a necklace. I'll try to post about that this weekend ~ hopefully with some action shots of us using them!

In previous 'snowflake catching days' we made the discovery that if you catch the flakes on the cloth then view it while standing under the sled, that more flakes don't drop onto the cloth and disrupt what you're viewing. 

On 'snowflake catching days' you must read the book, Snowflake Bentley, which tells the story of a Vermont man that dedicated his life to studying and photographing snowflakes under a microscope. If you haven't read this book, you really should!

A great website to learn more about snowflakes is listed below. Be sure to print out a copy of their "Snowflake Guide", slip it into a plastic sleeve, and take it outdoors with you on the next snowy day!   
Happy Snowflake Catching!
I'd love to hear about your snowflake adventures.

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