Frozen Math

I saw this really cool GIF on FB the other day, showing a bubble freezing. As I watched it, you could see all these beautiful shapes emerging and eventually covering the whole bubble. (I of course wished that it was cold enough where I live for me to go out and try it myself, but alas….where I live seems to be having a no-snow winter this year.

Watch and see:

It looks like snowflakes appearing on the bubble, and snowflakes are fascinating. They are unique, they have amazing patterns that form naturally. Wouldn’t it be fun to explore snowflakes with students? Especially if you live in colder climates where there is actual snow to collect and study. How could we connect the beautiful patterns and unique qualities of snowflakes to mathematics? I set out to explore and found a few great resources for those of you who are interested in exploring frozen math. Yet another way to bring the real-world into the classroom and help students see the math that exists around them.  Even if you don’t live where snow may be, some of these resources provide some great tools for ‘creating’ snowflakes with students.

Here are some links:

  1. This is a nice site because it has several suggestions – from collecting real snowflakes to creating your own, to analyzing patterns and categorizing snowflakes. Great hands-on activities.
  2.  A wide variety of ‘frozen math’ activities here: including the Koch Curve/Snowflake, where students experience the iterative process to create a snowflake fractal.
  3. Some nice examples and how-to-make paper snowflakes:
  4. Some nice geometry connections and more paper-snowflake making here:
  5. This is a great math/science connection with a lot of further embedded links included:
  6. Vi Hart and Doodling is always fun to watch, and here she is doodling and folding with symmetry and fractions:

I am sure there are more options out there – these are just a few I stumbled upon in my searching. Don’t let the winter blues set in – get out there and collect some snowflakes and do some frozen math!