Join students Sophie, Tomás, Emma, and Marcus during Fifth Period! This STEM comic strip chronicles the exciting and often hilarious adventures of a close-knit group of four friends as they learn about science, technology, engineering, and math from their kooky, inspiring, off-the-wall science teacher, Mr. Kepler. When they're not in class, these kids love to explore the vast world of STEM on their own, launching weather balloons, programming computer games, and cataloging insects, sometimes with unpredictable and highly entertaining results!
Check back on the first and third Friday of every month for a new Fifth Period strip!
Everyone knows snowflakes—also called snow crystals by scientists—come in unique and beautiful shapes. But did you know that snowflakes get their fantastic designs because of a unique property in water? A water molecule—which is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom—is polar, meaning its two ends have different charges. Hydrogen has a positive charge, while oxygen has a negative charge, and when a bunch of water molecules are together, opposites attract! The hydrogen atom of one water molecule will pair with the oxygen atom of another. If the temperature drops low enough, they'll freeze in this position, forming the crystalline structure of snowflakes.
Check out this video to find out more about how snowflakes form.
...and to learn even more, check out NOAA's website on winter weather!
Try it yourself!
Because of changing air conditions, snowflakes will form into several different basic shapes. Next time it snows, grab a black piece of paper or cardboard and then head outside with a magnifying glass. How many different basic snowflake shapes can you identify?