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This is another super easy snow day STEAM activity. All you need is snow and a magnifying glass!

We collected a jar of snow outside and brought it in for observations. My kids then took turns using our magnifying glass to look at the snow.

The magnifying glass helped them see the details in the snow more clearly. Our snow was actually little ice balls, so my kids were a little disappointed to not see beautiful snow flake patterns in our snow. But we still saw some unique details in the ice, and each one looked different. 

Looking at our “snow” with a magnifying glass was a good opportunity for us to learn the difference between snow, sleet, and freezing rain to help identify our precipitation. After researching about the differences I believe we had sleet! Keep reading for a brief description of each type of freezing precipitation in the STEAM Concepts Learned section below.

Materials:

Procedure:

  1. Collect a jar full of snow from outside.
  1. Bring the snow inside and place it on a table for observations.
  1. Use a magnifying glass to look at the snowflakes and to examine their crystal structure and unique shapes.

STEAM Concepts Learned:

This is a great activity to learn about the different types of freezing precipitation. Read the brief description below to determine if you had snow, sleet, or freezing rain.

  • Snowflakes form when water droplets freeze to particles in the air. Crystals form and when it reaches the ground it has six symmetrical sides. No two snowflakes are alike! Snowflakes form in the clouds below 32oF and the temperature remains that low all the way to the ground. 
  • Sleet forms when snow goes through a warm patch of air and partially melts, then refreezes before it reaches the ground. It makes frozen raindrops like we saw at our home. 
  • Frozen rain forms when snow goes through a warm patch of air that completely melts the snow, then goes through freezing air again but doesn’t have time to refreeze completely. It will freeze when it touches something on the ground, creating dangerous ice.

If you have snow, look for the 6 sided crystal structure and compare a few snowflakes side by side to see the differences. The most fascinating thing about snow to me is how each snowflake is unique. Nature truly is magical.

My kids spent a long time examining our “snow”. It was a fun, screen free indoor activity for a snow day. We still got to play with the snow, but did it while warm and cozy inside. When I was a kid I would have gladly stayed outside all day on a snow day, but as an adult I much prefer playing with the snow inside! 😉

Let us know if you try this or have done this simple activity before. As I love to say, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean the kids aren’t learning a lot! They’re going to remember doing snow day STEAM activities with you for a long time. 🙂

After you do this activity, check out my other Snow Day STEAM Activities too!

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