Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Education & Schools
  3. Homeschooling

Facts about snowflakes

See also

As the snow falls outside it is often hard to distinguish one snowflake from another. Yet each and every snowflake is unique. Similar to how every human being is slightly different from all others, snowflakes are all slightly different shapes and sizes.

Snowflakes are sometimes referred to as “snow crystals” and they form in the clouds when the temperature is underneath the freezing point (32 degrees). When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, water droplets turn into small ice particles which then drop from the clouds. As the ice crystal descends it bumps into others and knocks off enough ice to become a dainty snowflake. In fact, it is this very process of bumping into other snowflakes (along with the tendency to melt and refreeze) that results in their complex shape.

Although snowflakes are all different, they always have six sides and they can always be categorized into six main types, plate (flat), column, stars, dendrite (lacy, needle, and capped column. When it is extremely cold the snow is very fine and powdery and snowflakes become quite simple in design, usually needle or rod shaped. When the temperature is near to freezing point, snowflakes become much larger and much more complex in design.

Most snowflakes are quite small. However, in Montana in January 1887 a snowflake was found that was 14 inches wide and 7 inches thick! To date, that is the largest snowflake on record.



  • Dan Savage
    Dan Savage cares about LGBT youth, bullying and saving lives
    Today's Buzz
  • Raku
    Teachers and students can use this summer to learn a new skill
    15 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    10 Photos
  • Greek wine
    Unwind with these delicious wines: The thrilling wines of Greece
    7 Photos
  • Mandy Moore
    Exclusive interview with Celebrity Mandy Moore concerning animal activism
    5 Photos
  • Educational family vacations
    Find out how to take an educational family vacation that doesn't break the bank
    9 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Saving money on college expenses
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517349205" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • This building is the original "Nathan's Famous" on Coney Island.
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517844385" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • 'Life Inside Out' film coming to festivals in July
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>