Make Cut-out Snowflakes Day

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Make Cut-out Snowflakes Day

December 27, 2014

Today is Make Cut-Out Snowflakes Day, a great case of art and math coming together on paper. Real snowflakes are those tiny crystals of frozen water that fall from the sky, and which are almost always 6-sided (though they can also have 3 sides). While two snowflakes could be the same, there’s almost no chance that will happen: each one is made of 10 quintillion tiny building blocks of water, called molecules, where 10 quintillion is 10 x 10 x 10…19 times! It’s hard for 10 quintillion things to line up by accident the same way twice, so yes, any two snowflakes are probably different. To make cut-out paper snowflakes, you fold a circle or hexagon of paper in half, then fold that into thirds to make a pie slice or triangle. When you cut little triangle- or square-shaped holes out of that, the scissors cut that shape out of 6 layers of paper, so when you unfold it your designs show up on all 6 sides of the flake. Best of all, every paper snowflake probably turns out different, too!

Wee ones: If you cut a triangle from a folded edge and then unfold, you end up with a diamond-shaped hole. How many sides does a diamond have?

Little kids: If you cut 2 holes out of your pie slice, how many holes do you have once you unfold?  Bonus: What if you cut 3 holes?

Big kids: How many holes do you have to cut out to end up with 66 on the whole flake?  Bonus: A circle is 360 degrees around. If your pie slice is 1/6 of that, what angle does your pie slice cover?




Wee ones: 4 sides.

Little kids: 12 holes.  Bonus: 18 holes.

Big kids: 11 holes.  Bonus: 60 degrees.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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