Snowflake Bentley and Snow Unit Study – Five in a Row Volume 4

We had a great time rowing Snowflake Bentley from Five in a Row Volume 4.  This is now our 4th year working through the FIAR program and we love it as much now as we did when the children were younger!
Snowflake Bentley is a historical fiction picture book about the live of William Bentley, a scientist who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  He was incredibly passionate about nature, particularly snow and ice crystals.  Through years of determination he was able to capture ice crystals in ways that had never been done before.  In doing so, he was able to share God’s intricate designs with people and inspire them to see the beauty and uniqueness of creation.  

Main Areas of Study:

  • Social Studies – Vermont, Education at Home, Character (Persistence)
  • Language Arts – Vocabulary, Biographies, Sayings, Story Beginnings
  • Art -Woodcut Art, Negative and Positive Space, Snowflake and winter art
  • Nature Study – Winter, observing snow and ice crystals
  • Bible – focus on the words ‘white’ and ‘snow’ in scriptures, beauty in God’s world (Psalm 8)

Snowflake art… so timeless!

I love decorating for our unit studies.  The Lord has revealed endless ways to use the Christmas ornaments we didn’t hang on a tree this year.  (God is so good).  Here, on a sudden inspiration, I hung snowflake ornaments all over the kitchen, creating a lovely winter wonderland right over our kitchen table!  What a pretty atmosphere for our row!

Frozen Winter Scene Science:

We collected pine cones, sprigs and twigs from evergreens, and added cranberries to a shallow pan of water.  Then, we froze our ‘scenes’ and let them sit outside in the snow for a while (or maybe a few days… ha).

Then, we brought them inside and had fun trying to ‘melt’ them using syringes and several different methods.  We tried cold water, warm water, water with salt, and just plain salt.  It was fun for the kids to experiment with how to most effectively melt the ice and also how to create hole, designs, and interesting shapes.

Observing snowflakes and ice crystals in the backyard.

Look at the beauty we found and captured right in the center of this photo!

How much water is really in snow? 1. Collect snow, 2. Have each child guess where the water line will be once the snow melts, 3. Observe, 4. Discuss the results.

“Fishing for Ice” – 1. Fill a mason jar (or bowl) with water, 2. Throw in a few ice cubes, 3. Use a string and try to ‘fish’ for the ice. (It will not stick). 4. Sprinkle the ice with salt while the string rests on the ice cube.  5. Wait about 20 seconds, then try to lift it out of the water.  It should stick!

It worked!

This is a really easy “Make a Crystal” experiment.

How much snow falls in Vermont?  Let’s measure.  How much snow falls in our area?  How different are they? (Quite different, Vermont gets more than double the amount of snow we do!)

What makes a good story beginning?  I picked out several of our favourite books and hid them behind a larger book.  I read the first line of each book and had the children guess what book I was reading.  They had fun and got almost every one correct!  We then discussed which story beginnings we liked the best and why.

Writing our own story beginnings…

Snowflake Bentley Lapbooks:

Making things a bit simpler for a younger child.

Copywork ideas.

A Yummy Idea… why not make snowflake and snowman cookies?

Some helpful Links:

Watercolor Snowflakes Paintings

How to fold and cut a paper snowflake

Sensory Ice Melt Scene

Fishing for Ice Activity

Great little ‘how to cut a paper snowflake’ Video

My Joy-Filled Life

One Comment

  • Jennifer :)

    Looks so fun! I'm sure you have mentioned this before, but I'm pretty new to your blog. 🙂 (loving it!) Do you come up with your own ideas to go with the stories or do you have resources to help you along?

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