If snow is starting to fall where you live, you may be out there building a snowman or chucking snowballs at your friends — and you may notice how the really wet, sticky snow you can pack into shapes is also really heavy. How can those teeny specks falling from the sky weigh so much? Sue Heavenrich at Archimedes Notebook wondered about this, too. She figured out that a snowflake can weigh as much as 1/50th of a gram, and that 235 flakes weigh the same as a Hershey’s chocolate kiss. If you imagine 95 Hershey’s kisses, which weigh about 1 pound, they weigh the same as more than 22,000 snowflakes. Other people have weighed snow by the inch: if you shovel 10-inch-deep snow off a 50-foot stretch of sidewalk, you’re moving about 1,300 pounds of snow! Hopefully you can build a snowman with less than that.
Wee ones: Which weighs more, a snowflake or 1 Hershey’s kiss?
Little kids: If you love to eat snow, and you take a bite of snowball, then eat a Hershey’s kiss, then a bite of snow, then a kiss…what do you eat on your 8th bite? Bonus: If you count out 95 Hershey’s kisses, what number do you say before 95?
Big kids: A 5×5-foot square of sidewalk with 1 inch of snow weighs about 25 pounds. How many sidewalk squares would you have to shovel to match your weight in snow? Bonus: If you eat 2 Hershey’s kisses, how many snowflakes would you have to eat to match that weight?
Wee ones: A Hershey’s kiss.
Little kids: A Hershey’s kiss, as on all even-numbered bites. Bonus: 94.
Big kids: Different for everyone…see how many 25s add up to your weight in pounds (or more). Bonus: 470 snowflakes.
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.