Explore snowflake symmetry in the Bay Area

Here in the Bay Area, it might not snow…But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about snowflakes!

Snowflakes are pretty, and none are exactly the same, as you can see in these cool macro photos of various snowflakes. Though snowflakes are all different, they all make cool symmetrical hexagonal shapes. If you look at the snowflake below, you will be able to see the six sides of the snowflake, and how each section looks the same.

According to an article on Scientific American, snowflakes are symmetrical because of the arrangement of water molecules as they freeze. The structure of water molecules and the way snowflakes are formed cause the symmetrical hexagonal shape, but snowflakes are unique and elaborate, with crystals branching off in different directions, due to very different and complex conditions in the atmosphere.

Now that you know about the symmetry of a snowflake, you can try a symmetry game here, or make your own beautiful symmetrical snowflake by following the instructions below.


How to make your own hexagonal snowflake:

You will need:

  • a square piece of paper
  • scissors
  • glitter and markers (optional)

What you need to do:

  1.  Fold the paper in half on a diagonal, to make a triangle shape.
  2.  Fold this triangle in half as well, making a smaller triangle.
  3. Fold this triangle into thirds.
  4. Now, cut the top of the triangle at an angle.
  5. Cut away shapes from the sides, creating your design.
  6. Open up the snowflake and enjoy our creation!

These instructions can be confusing without pictures, so check out this instructable for more guidance!

You can enjoy the beauty of snowflakes, even if it doesn’t snow here in the Bay Area.

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at  http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark!