During winter, there are new materials for Montessori learners to explore, including some for learning about the different types of snowflakes and the snowflake life cycle. The learners discover snowflake shapes such as a simple star, branched star, stellar dendrite, plate, and hexagonal plate snowflake. In another new material, learners can“fish” for ice in a bowl of water with ice cubes in the shape of stellar dendrite snowflakes. This fun activity is also a challenge requiring concentration, motor control, and coordination.
During morning circle, the Montessori learners discuss how snowflakes are created. They learn that first water from lakes and oceans evaporates to form water vapor, which then combines with dust to make clouds. Cold temperatures cause water droplets in the clouds to crystalize, and snowflakes fall when those ice crystals become heavy enough. Learners also have the opportunity to work with three part cards detailing this process.
In addition to these lessons about snowflakes, the learners are introduced to the Lunar New Year. A Lunar New Year tradition is to give a red envelope with money symbolizing good wishes and luck for the coming year to friends and family. The learners cut, color, fold, and glue together their own red envelopes for the Lunar New Year.