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Snow Day – Are you ready?

Are you ready for a snow day? I know we all love having those unexpected days off. A few years ago we had several days in a row off for a huge snowstorm and the kids in my town had the best time. In Alabama, we don’t have a lot of snow- certainly not enough to own sleds. But our kids were very resourceful in using plastic containers and garbage can lids as ways to go sledding! Total fun!  

So, of course, we tried some snow STEM activities that turned out to be really fun! Here’s a quick recap of three ways to have a snow day without having a major weather event!

Are you ready for snow? Get ready to try three STEM Challenges all about snow- build a snowflake, a snowman, and an igloo! Check this post for the details!

First up, we tried designing snowflakes.

This challenge is to build a model of a snowflake using various supplies. Students must work to make the shape symmetrical, beautiful, and detailed.
This challenge is to build a model of a snowflake using various supplies. Students must work to make the shape symmetrical, beautiful, and detailed.

I found a website that has close-up photos of snowflakes and we looked at those first. They are really incredibly beautiful and shaped in so many different ways, In fact, the different shapes have names. After seeing all the different kinds, the challenge was to create a snowflake.  

This activity became much more complicated than you would think. First of all, some kids really didn’t understand symmetry and had lop-sided snowflakes. Many of them were quite pretty. We used some easy building materials and when these were finished I stapled all of them to a giant bulletin board labeled “Let It Snow!”

Then we tried building snowmen for our snow day!

This challenge is to build a model of a snowman using only a few supplies. One is the newspaper for the snowman frame and the other is tissue to cover the snowman.
This challenge is to build a model of a snowman using only a few supplies. One is the newspaper for the snowman frame and the other is tissue to cover the snowman.

The main material for this one was toilet paper! Kids had other items to make the body and then they wrapped it with the tissue.  

How fun are these! Students were very imaginative in designing those snowmen faces and props! That little minion is just too cute!

Tip: Limit the amount of toilet tissue that can be used! Also, I bought the least expensive kind I could find.

Next, our snow day included igloos, of course!

This challenge is to build a model of an igloo. What sets this task apart is the building materials. Students will only have a few, but must still collaborate well in order to make the best use of those supplies.
This challenge is to build a model of an igloo. What sets this task apart is the building materials. Students will only have a few, but must still collaborate well in order to make the best use of those supplies.

This one was very interesting! We tried two different materials for the outside of the igloos. One of the materials we tried was a big oops moment.

Our final versions (that worked the best) were the igloos that used cotton balls. We also used a lot of white glue. Kids loved this one and found the arch shapes were challenging to make!

Our ‘oops’ moment!

One of my favorite things about the STEM Lab is that everything we do is an experiment. Oftentimes I think of a challenge or a material that just doesn’t work. My test class always works out the kinks for me so that the remaining classes can design and build.

You would think kids do not like this since the test class sometimes has wacky rules that change in the middle of the building time! Actually, they love being the test class. The ‘oops’ to the igloo challenge was using packing peanuts for the outside of the igloo. I thought toothpicks as connectors between the packing peanuts would work! Not really! It was very hard to make the arch shape and most of those first igloos looked like cylinders. That’s why we switched to using cotton balls and white glue!

I hope you are inspired now to have a snow day in your classroom! Click on any of the images to see these resources in my store and check these blog posts below:

Are you ready for snow? Get ready to try three STEM Challenges all about snow- build a snowflake, a snowman, and an igloo! Check this post for the details!

Comments

  1. Betik says

    I have never heard of using packing peanuts to build an igloo. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.
    Beti
    Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

  2. Kidpeople Classroom says

    Packing beanies are the greatest. They love doing stuff with all the "trash," don't they 🙂 See you around. Kathleen Kidpeople Classroom

  3. Carol Davis says

    Packing Peanuts are a great building material! We use them all the time to cushion things we are building and we once tried to build a geodesic dome with them. That did not work! Thanks for visiting!