Winter Weather Teaching Box: Snowflake Shapes

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Goal: Students learn that snowflakes come in different shapes.


Engage students with the idea that snowflakes come in different shapes.

Explore snowflake shapes in depth.

  • Catching Snowflakes: If you are in a place where snow falls in winter, try catching snowflakes and having students take a close look.
  • Make a Flake: Students make a snowflake model based on images of real snowflakes.

Evaluate student learning by having students sort snowflakes and describe.

  • Print snowflakes at the Snow Crystals Online Gallery ( or Snowflake Images from NOAA and have students sort into categories based on shape. You can define the categories for students (such as rod-shaped and star-shaped) or have students come up with their own categories. Ask students why snowflakes have different shapes. Student answers should include that snowflakes are made of different arrangments of ice crystals which gives them different shapes. Student answers may include that different types of weather lead to different snowflakes.

Performance Expectation and Standards:

  • PE: K-ESS2-1. Students make observations of snowflakes over time and describe the shape variations in a graphic.
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Analyzing data
  • NGSS DCI: ESS2.D Weather and climate
  • NGSS Crosscutting themes: Patterns
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