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Catching Snowflakes

Scientists like Nancy Knight of NCAR look closely at snowflakes, studying their shape. Has anyone ever told you that no two snowflakes are alike? Well, snowflakes do come in many different shapes and sizes but Nancy once found two snowflakes that were virtually identical! Can you see them in the picture at the right?

If you live in, or are visiting, a place where snow falls, try catching snowflakes and taking a close look at them! Nancy Knight uses a special microscope to examine snowflakes, but you will be able to see quite a bit with a magnifying glass. Can you find two snowflakes that look alike?

What you will need:

  • Black construction paper
  • Magnifying glass
  • Warm winter cloths
  • Falling snow

What you do:

  1. Go outside in your warm winter cloths as snow is falling. Take the black paper and magnifying glass with you.
  2. Hold the black paper flat so that snowflakes fall on it. Keep your hands at the edges of the paper to avoid warming the paper and melting the snowflakes.
  3. Take a look at the different types of snowflakes through the magnifying glass!