Everday MarvelsEverything Water

Who makes snowflakes?

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Snowflakes are so beautiful and so perfectly shaped that they certainly must be made very carefully! Who does all of that work? Is there a Snow Fairy in the sky who works all day long to create every individual snowflake? Or perhaps there's a Snow Factory located up in the clouds...?

The answer is that snowflakes come from none other than Mother Nature herself! You're probably already familiar with snow, and you might think of it as a sort of cold, icy rain. Technically, raindrops that freeze in the air are what you know as "sleet," while the frozen form of something called "water vapor" creates what you know as "snowflakes"!

Snowflakes form when the water vapor in a cloud freezes into ice crystals on a tiny piece of dust in the atmosphere. The ice crystals grow as a six-sided shape called a "hexagon". (Kind of like the shape of a stop sign!) From there, different factors such as temperature changes, wind, and other dust that a snowflake comes across make the snowflake grow additional branches and change into it's beautiful, unique shape!

Exploration

Let It Snow!

Have you ever seen some really, really big snowflakes? How big do you think they were? One quarter of an inch? Half an inch? One or even two inches?? Were they big enough that you could count their six branches?Draw a picture of yourself surrounded by awesome snowflakes! What's your favorite part of a snowy, cold, wintery day??

Further Information

"Water vapor" refers to water when it's in the state of a gas instead of a liquid (like the water you drink) or a solid (like an ice cube). It's difficult to understand and you might be picturing it kind of like steam... it's not quite the same as that either, but even though you might not have heard of it before, it's a big part of our weather! Water vapor plays a big roll in clouds, snow, rain, and more!