Snow Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Everyone gets excited about a snow day! Discover how snow occurs and explore ice crystals up close. Learn about a man in history who was fascinated with snow!

What is Snow?

Sure, summertime is great for being outside, playing sports, and enjoying the warm weather. But winter can be just as much fun! Many areas of the United States get to enjoy the wonderful, white, fluffy stuff called snow. This is a form of precipitation, or water falling to the Earth from clouds. It is frozen and can be a lot of fun to play in, or to stay inside and watch while sipping hot chocolate!

How Does Snow Form?

To understand how snow forms, we need to know a little about the water cycle. Water is on the Earth in lakes, streams, oceans, and other bodies of water. Water evaporates, which means it turns into a gas and goes into the air. Eventually, the water comes back down to Earth in the form of precipitation. If the temperature in the air is warm, this precipitation is rain. However, if the air in the atmosphere is below a certain temperature then the precipitation can be frozen forms, such as snow or sleet.

Lots of moisture and freezing temperatures can result in heavy amounts of snow.
heavy snow fall

A Famous Snow Scientist

A scientist born in the 1860s, Wilson Bentley, was one of the first people to examine snow crystals up close. He became famous for his photography of snow crystals, and there is even a book written about him! Snowflake Bentley is written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. It includes a history of his life and many of his now famous pictures of snow crystals.

Wilson Bentley is famous for capturing photographs of snowflakes before they melted.
Snowflake Bentley photographer

Snow Crystals Up Close

Snow is composed of ice crystals. These usually have six or eight points, and they can be fascinating to look at! There is often symmetry with ice crystals. This means that divided in half, the crystal has two sides that are mirror images of each other. Perhaps this is what fascinated Snowflake Bentley so much when he was able to photograph the crystals without them melting!

This snowflake has eight points or tips and can be divided to show symmetry.
close up of ice crystal snow

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