Did you know that most snowflakes have six sides? But check out a lot of snowflakes in artwork and you'll find that designers have taken liberties -- and often incorrectly represent snowflakes with eight sides.
Because snowflakes are crystals of ice -- and because ice is water -- they can only fit together in certain ways. Temperature and humidity dictate the exact way the pattern comes out, but each snow crystal has a six-cornered symmetry, which follows a water molecule's makeup.
Occasionally, a snowflake might have either three or twelves sides -- half or double the normal six -- but even those are rare.
To learn more about snow, check out the following Science NetLinks resources:
- A Matter of Pattern (K-2)
- Water 3: Melting and Freezing (K-2)
- SnowCrystals.com (3-12)
- Similar Snowflakes (6-12)
- Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise (9-12)