10 Science Experiments to Do in the Snow

Snowflake Identification
That colorized photo of a snowflake was snapped all the way back in 1902, courtesy of Vermonter Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley. © Kallista Images/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

There are a lot of myths about snowflakes, and some of those myths have reached even the youngest ears. If you hear your kids expertly telling one another that no two snowflakes are alike, you might consider this science lesson the next time you're shoveling through snow.

While it's technically true that each molecular crystal is different in snowflakes, it's also possible to get two flakes that look identical -- even under a microscope [source: Stevenson]. Explain to the kids that flakes start out in some fairly uniform frozen crystal shapes (you can refer to this cool chart for help), and then -- as they travel down and encounter dust, vapor or temperature changes -- they alter. If you really want to occupy their time, challenge the kids to find two similar looking flakes or crystals, and ask them to recall why they may look similar or different.