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14 January 2013

Looking Closely at Snow

It's that time of year - winter is back, in Switzerland, after a brief holiday of the Holidays, and i's snowing all week.  Time to look more closely at


This video is on  the American Chemical Society's Bytesize Science page:

Posted December 17, 2012
"The video tracks formation of snowflakes from their origins in bits of dust in clouds that become droplets of water falling to Earth. When the droplets cool, six crystal faces form because water molecules bond in hexagonal networks when they freeze. It explains that ice crystals grow fastest at the corners between the faces, fostering development of the six branches that exist in most snowflakes. As snowflakes continue to develop, the branches can spread, grow long and pointy, or branch off into new arms. As each snowflake rises and falls through warmer and cooler air, it thus develops its own distinctive shape."

Go back to my blog post from December 2012 about making paper snowflakes, if you want to create your own in-doors versions.

Snow Fall

Anyone who has anything to do with snow outdoors on slopes, should read Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek created by the New York Times. It is best read in a web browser that enables media - the story is more than text (though the text by itself is very powerful  the videos, audio, maps and wallpaper add to the reading experience).

After you've read the page - and do stick with it to the end - you can read about how it was created at Source
"...It’s an exemplary piece of multimedia journalism, and its many moving (and swooping and clicking) pieces have attracted intense attention from media commentators, but Snow Fall began life not as a demonstration of technology and design capabilities, but with a traditional, in-depth piece by Times reporter John Branch..."
It's an amazing, well written  story, and a  very interesting webpage-as-webpage.  It should be required reading for all our Middle School "Risktakers".