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.