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Science of the snowflake

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Keywords: Caldecott Medal, LCD projector, Macbook, technology, first grade, science, elementary, Media Center, Library
Subject(s): Art, Technology, Reading, English/Language Arts, Science, History
Grade 1
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: William J McGinn Elem School, Scotch Plains, NJ
Planned By: Erica Moon
Original Author: Erica Moon, Scotch Plains
Title: The snowflake/Caldecott/Reintroduction to Macbook
Subject: Library
Grade Level: First Grade/class is 40 minutes.
Objective: III Technological Literacy - The first grade student is expected to:
A.1 Recognize that information can be accessed from electronic and multi-media sources (e.g., on-line card catalogues, Internet, software programs)
ART 3.1.f.1 Continue to develop a vocabulary through meaningful, concrete experiences.1.3.d.2 Discuss how art elements are used in specific works of art.

Materials: Books: Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin; laptop; projector; white screen; student MacBooks; websites: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos/photos.htm
OR http://snowflakes.barkleyus.com

Activities and Procedures: Building on previous lessons regarding the awarding of the Caldecott Medal for best illustrations, we will read 1999's Caldecott winner, Snowflake Bentley.
During reading:
We will discuss the illustrations and why they might be worthy of an award.
We will discuss the facts/science of snowflakes that are listed in the sidebars of the book.
After reading:
I will use the LCD projector to show snowflake photos online at the first website. Then, using the second website, I will demonstrate how to fold paper to make a snowflake that has 6 "identical" branches as Bentley discovered they have.
The children will then move in pairs to the laptops and make their own snowflake designs using the same website. This exercise serves to reinforce manipulation of the MacBook touchpad and the three basic laptop rules they were taught previously:

1. Hands must be clean;
2. Use only one finger on the touchpad;
3. Never touch the screen.

Evaluation: Children should participate in the discussion about the Caldecott Awards. Children should be able to successfully navigate the Macbook and successfully complete the project.
Children can access the website at home with parents permission. Another wonderful follow-up activity: The next time it snows, take a piece of black construction paper outside and catch snowflakes to examine with a magnifying glass, being careful not breathe on the snowflakes!
Materials: Mobile Labs, Wildlife, Portable, Projector Screens, Elementary