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A Mathematical Look at Snowflakes

Dec 1, 2016

The next time it snows, take a few minutes to admire the individual snowflakes. Their intricate crystalline structures and patterns are beautiful and fascinating. Nature is full of math and snowflakes are just one example.

Cool Math Facts about Snowflakes
Snowflakes have six points and are hexagonal.
Snowflakes have from 180 billion to 10 quintillion (1019) molecules of water.
They fall at a rate of 3.1 miles per hour.
There are 6 basic types of snowflakes based on their 3 dimensional shape: flat, column, stars, dendrite, lacy, needle, and capped column.
The temperature of the air and the humidity where the snowflake forms determines the type of snowflake that will form. Dendrites form when the air temperature is between -8 degrees Fahrenheit to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
Snowflakes do not have perfect symmetry.
A branch of geometry called fractal geometry helps explain the figures of snowflakes. A mathematician, Helge von Koch, created the Koch snowflake based on the Koch fractal curve.

Isn’t Math Beautiful?
At Mathnasium of Littleton we love sharing the wondrous world of math with kids. Every child should experience the fun and joy of exploring and identifying math all around them. Come see us and don’t forget to keep math fun and incorporate it into your daily life.

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