“Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.”
Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley 1925
In southern Vermont, where Oak Meadow’s offices are located, we’re no stranger to winter snow. It just keeps snowing and blowing! Old King Winter sits on his icy throne with sheer pride and pleasure, with his spritely right hand man, Jack Frost, at his side.
It brings to mind another Vermonter: a man by the name of Wilson Bentley, better known as the Snowflake Man.
Bentley was a farmer who grew up and lived in Vermont. As a young boy, he was home schooled. He had a natural affinity with nature, and with snowflakes in particular. He received his first microscope on his 15th birthday (in 1881) and began examining snowflakes. He soon discovered that no snowflake is like any other. At the age of 19, Bentley took his first micro-photograph of a snowflake, and this was the beginning of a passionate hobby. He spent his entire adult life photographing snowflakes, and by the time he died in 1931, he had photographed over 5,000 images. Imagine that!
The Oak Meadow curriculum in kindergarten and in first grade offers the artistic project of making paper snowflake designs. Mrs. Novak, a Title One Teacher Trainer at the Nashua, New Hampshire Elementary Technology Integration website (“Snowflake Bentley and Wonderful Winter Snow”) offers a wide variety of other artistic projects, games, and educational exercises on snowflakes that might interest you.
William Bentley’s official home site also provides an assortment of books for all ages on this marvelous “Snowflake Man”. If you are fortunate to live close to or pass by Jericho, Vermont, you can visit the Bentley Museum to view his photographed snowflakes and to learn more about his fascinating life and the captivating beauty of snow!
Oak Meadow’s fourth grade syllabus offers a block on poetry, which involves creating a portfolio of freestyle, rhyming and acrostic poems. Student Maren Doughty wrote a lovely acrostic poem on “SNOWFLAKES“…
Smelling hot chocolateNow winter is hereOutside we go!Wind howlingFreezing fingers and nosesLots of snow angels shaped in the snowAll the gournd is covered whiteKids building snowmanEveryone is excitedSeeing snowflakes falling