Snowflake Bentley


This FIAR unit had so many wonderful topics to explore that it took us a good four weeks to finish rowing this wonderful book. I tried to organize this post by subject, so it won’t be in chronological order.

I made snowflake pancakes to start us on our Snowflake Bentley journey.

Winter Farm:

I set out various winter elements to use in our farm sensory bin.

We read Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter together.

Jordan helped me put together the new windmill for our farm.

The boys readied our little farm for the cold winter months ahead.

Story Disk:

I bought a used copy of the FIAR volume III teacher’s manual, but it was missing the Snowflake Bentley story disk. Jordan helped me create our own.

He drew a snowflake on our story disk using a “How to draw a snowflake” strip I made a few years back.

Jordan placed our story disk on Vermont, or as close as he could make it!

Cover Page:

The boys created their cover page in their lapbooks.


Memory Verse:

I created a Snowflake Bentley Bible Verse Pack.

You can purchase your copy here at our store.

Jordan traced his Bible verse and we added it to his FIAR notebook.



We read Vermont (Rookie Read-About Geography) together.

Green Mountain Boys:

I started reading from the The Story of the Green Mountain Boys (Cornerstones of Freedom) which tied in perfectly with our Sonlight history lessons. We didn’t read much, but we may come back to it.

Maple Syrup:

Since Vermont is known for their maple syrup, we spent some time exploring sugar maple trees. This unit covered both social studies and science.

We had porridge with maple and brown sugar for breakfast.

Jordan and I read The Missing Maple Syrup Sap Mystery. This was a cute story to explain the process of tapping sugar maple trees.

We read about sugar maple trees in A Tree for All Seasons (Rise and Shine).

We also read Curious George Makes Maple Syrup which had a leaf log activity at the end of the book. So, we went outside to collect various leaves.

We collected leaves from herbs, bushes, flowers, and trees all around our yard.

After collecting a good amount of leaves, we came inside and the boys made their leaf logs.

After they dried, the boys labeled their leaf logs.

Maple Sugar:

We also read Sugar Snow (Little House Picture Book) and I set out a fun maple syrup activity.

We love making sugar on snow, but it’s too sticky for Haley’s braces and Parker’s ortho appliance. I decided to make maple sugar instead.

First, we watched the Little House Maple Sugar video.

Afterwards, we poured our syrup into the pot and began boiling it.

We used our candy thermometer to make sure we reached the right temperature and set it aside to cool a bit (as instructed in the video).

Once it slightly cooled, the kids took turns stirring air into the boiled syrup.

We poured the mixture in a container lined with parchment.

Once our maple sugar cooled completely, I broke it into chunky pieces. The kids love nibbling at it, like Laura and Mary, but I think it’s just too sweet.

Parker agreed with me. Personally, It’s better crumbled on porridge that has a bit of salt in it. I wonder if adding salt before letting it set would work…something to ponder.

Dairy Farms:

Since Vermont is also known for their dairy farms, we spent some time exploring this subject too.

We read It’s Milking Time and learned all about the life of a dairy farmer.

Jordan and I read excerpts from Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life to learn more about dairy cows and the process of milking cows.

We also read about beef cattle and the various cuts of beef, which is good information for a budding chef.

If we were learning about dairy cows, we HAD to make butter.

Everyone took turns shaking the container of cream.

We poured out the buttermilk, rinsed it, added salt and mixed it to a creamy consistency.

Everyone enjoyed fresh butter on their morning toast.

Inventors & Inventions:

We read BERT’S HALL OF GREAT INVENTIONS (A LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK) together, because we were learning about inventors and we’re HUGE fans of Sesame Street.

I printed a reduced size of our Inventor and Invention cards (Montessori Helper) and glued them in the boy’s FIAR Notebooks. I had the boys label them like a match game. Jordan LOVED this activity!

We also read Thomas Edison and His Bright Idea (Penguin Young Readers, Level 3) and talked about being positive and learning from our failures.

Jordan read A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison (Picture Book Biography), a great biography for “curious” kids like Thomas Edison. This was a REALLY great book for older students to read independently.


Vocabulary Words:

I created a Snowflake Bentley Vocabulary Word worksheet for this row.

You can download your copy here at our TPT Store.

Jordan matched each vocabulary word withe appropriate definition. I let him lead and only helped him when he match one incorrectly.

Newberry Medal:

Though Mary Azarian won a Caldecott medal for her illustrations; however, we decided to learn about the Newberry medal, a prestigious award given to authors of children’s literature.

We read Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books , the story of John Newberry and the birth of children’s books. Everyone LOVED this book!

Side Margins:

We discussed how authors use the margins to give their readers additional information.

Virginia Lee Burton used the side margins to give her readers additional information. We opened Katy and the Big Snow to look at her map of Geoppolis. What a fun time we had using the side margin key to identify each building. He’s matured so much and able to absorb the “extra information” than when we first rowed Katy and the Big Snow.

We read The Snowy Nap and talked about how Jan Brett used the left-side margin of each page to illustrate a foreshadowing of what would happen next in the story.

Figurative Language:


I created a Winter Similes printable for this row.

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT Store.

We read You’re Toast and Other Metaphors We Adore (Ways to Say It).

The kids had fun coloring their simile pack.

I made hot cocoa for the kids to enjoy while they completed their worksheets.

The kids colored their worksheets while they sipped their hot chocolate and I read aloud.


We updated our shelf with wonderful winter themed picture books.

We read many winter themed books while rowing Snowflake Bentley.


Calendar Work:

I printed our January calendar sheets for the kids to complete. I feel that working with a calendar is a life-skill that our kids should practice often.

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT Store.

Haley and the boys completed their January worksheets and added them to their school binders.

Multiplication Facts:

I created a Counting Snowflakes Math Pack for Parker to practice his six math facts.

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT Store.

First, Parker matched the snowflake answer cards to the correct equations on the math mat.

Afterwards, he completed the Counting Snowflakes worksheet.

Last, I challenged him to color the snowflakes using an even/odd color code I added. He quickly realized that all multiples of six are even numbers. Good observation, Parks!


I’m so happy we started rowing this book in January, because it aligned perfectly with our Sonlight science. We were studying both butterflies and botany.


Parts of the Plant:

First, we headed outside to collect our lemons and a few plants, from root to flower.

We couldn’t believe how many lemons we had on our Meyer tree!

We put our plant collection in containers for the boys to use.

I divided one piece of paper into four segments: F (flowers), S (stems), L (leaves), and R (roots). The boys glue the plant parts in the various boxes.

Next, we glued a whole dandelion plant from root to flower so we could label the various parts once it dried.

After they dried, the boys labeled their dandelion plants.

Af the end of our botany unit, we painted the parts of our echinacea plant (Honeycomb Cabin).


We read The Fruits We Eat by Gail Gibbons.

The boys labeled all the fruit cards (Hi5Homeschool and The Silvan Reverie) and we headed to the kitchen to sample some fruits we bought.

The boys sampled Asian pears, mangos, and a plumello. I cut up the rest for a fruit salad to eat with our dinner.

Butterfly Species:

I set out a set of Butterfly Species cards, gems, and our butterfly poster to review with Bub.

Bub and I went over the various butterflies and Jordan color coded each with a gem.

Butterfly Migration:

I printed a copy of The Great Migration from our All About Butterflies Little Science Pack.

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT Store.

Jordan read about monarch migrations and answered the coordinating questions.

Symmetry Art:

We started our lesson on symmetry. We reviewed shapes that are symmetrical. Then we discussed symmetry in nature.

Using our monarch diagram (Honeycomb Cabin), I folded the paper in half to make a line. I opened the sheet and sketched half of the butterfly. The boys traced their butterfly with water-resist crayons.

We folded the paper on itself and rubbed it with great pressure.

When they opened it up they saw the rubbing created the other half of the butterfly. This is always a WOW- factor!

I had them darken the lines then we set them aside to paint later.

They used watercolors to paint their monarch butterflies.

Life Cycle:

I set out monarch life cycle pictures (Tanglewood Hollow), green construction paper, and glue.

The boys glued them to the green construction paper and set them aside to dry.

The next day, I set out their butterflies, numbers, and labels so the boys could put their mobiles together.

I punched holes and added string and tape. I secured the craft to the table. The boys added the numbers, labels, and pictures.

They looked really beautiful!

Over the summer, we raised batches of gulf fritillary caterpillars from our passion flower vine.

The kids loved watching how they transform and releasing them into our garden.


Jordan and I read Grasshoppers on our Epic app.

I quickly drew a grasshopper for Jordan to color-code. He used our Grasshopper Anatomy card (Fiddlesticks) for reference.

Winter Weather:

First, we read Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak. I love everything about this series. It reads peacefully and the pictures are simply beautiful.

Snowstorm in a Jar:

I set out the supplies for a snowstorm in a jar.

Daddy helped us mix the water and paint, Bub poured in the baby oil, I added the glitter, and we dropped in the Alka-Seltzer.

We also read Sunshine and Snowballs by Margaret Wise Brown, one of our favorite authors.

Snowy Weather:

We read several science books about snow too.

The boys colored a “Common Snowflake Shapes” worksheet (Raising Up Wild Things).

I glued the worksheets in their FIAR notebooks. We dot-painted the folded side and glued a couple of the snowflakes they made.

We continued to read many snow-themed books while rowing this book.

Snow Line Experiment:

I printed copies of our Snow Level experiment.

You can download your FREE copy here at our TPT Store.

Since it doesn’t snow if our neck of the woods, we blended up ice in our blender. Jordan helped scoop the “snow” into our mason jars.

First, the boys marked the snow line and their water line prediction.

After the snow melted, the boys returned and marked the actual water line. We talked about “why” the water line was so low compared to the snow line. Jordan explained that it was air that made our snow line so much higher. Way to go, Bub!

We had snow left over, do the kids took turns throwing snowballs out the front door. This was an after thought that filled the house with bursts of laughter! Snow much fun!


First, we read about crystals in nature and snowflakes from our Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World book.

I brought out a Crystal Growing Discovery Set from Lakeshore Learning. EVERYONE wanted yo this activity!

Everyone assembled their paper trees. This was REALLY easy to do.

We poured our saline solution into the reservoir and set them aside, while the crystals grew.

After an hour and a half, they already grew substantial crystals.

By bedtime, they were really fluffy looking.

We woke up to the puffiest winter wonderland trees! This was a SUPER fun and easy experiment that EVERYONE loved!

3D Snow Shapes:

We also read Geology Genius Crystals on our Epic app. We learned about the various shapes of crystal.

I brought out our snow dough (details in ARTS & CRAFTS below). I asked the boys to make some of the common shapes occurred in nature.

The boys created many different 3D shapes with our snow dough. Another fun activity that was both math and science in one!


Woodblock Illustrations:

Mary Azarian used woodblock art illustrations in this book, but trying to do that just wasn’t an option. I thought that floral foam blocks might be a good replacement.

I cut each floral block into three sections for each kids to create mock “wood block art” on each side of their foam blocks. They could potentially create 16 different designs.

First, I wanted them to create their designs knowing that only what “remained, the parts not pressed-down or cut-away” would appear on their prints. I demonstrated this concept by pressing the shape of a snowflake on a piece of play-dough. I applied some paint and pressed it against a sheet of paper. They quickly understood the concept and began to create their own designs.

The kids really enjoyed this activity. The floral foam was easy to scrape and impress designs. We used simple wood sticks ( i.e. chopsticks, and scratch art sticks, and clay tools).

I read A Celebration of the Seasons: Goodnight Songs: Illustrated by Twelve Award-Winning Picture Book Artists while the kids created their block art.

The kids created all sorts of impressions on every side of their floral foam blocks. I headed to the kitchen and mixed some black tempura paint with a little water to make it a syrup-like consistency.

The kids dipped their blocks into the paint and pressed them on clean sheets of white paper. You can see that some designs were blobs while others looked like the impressions they made. We realized that the deep, simple block designs turned out WAY better than the thin, detailed designs. We definitely had a greater appreciation for Mary Azarian’s illustrations in this book.


I made a batch of shortbread and added some “winter blue” jimmies to the dough.

I reserved some shortbread to put in our Wilton cookie molds. Both cookies were golden, buttery, and delicious! The kids LOVED them.

Paper Snowflakes:

I set out some white paper scraps, scissors, and a read-aloud.

The kids cut paper snowflakes while I read No Two Alike (Classic Board Books) aloud.

Our classroom tree looked beautiful decorated with our paper snowflakes.

The kids LOVED this activity so much, they kept cutting snowflakes while I read our history lessons aloud.

Snow Dough:

I whipped up a batch of “snow dough” and presented it with blue gems and flat-bottom marbles.

The kids made all kinds of creations while they listened to our Sonlight read-alouds.


Pinterest Board:

You can find most of the activities, ideas, and printables from this post on our Snowflake Bentley Pinterest Board.

Youtube Playlist:

As with our other rows, we created a Snowflake Bentley playlist with read-alouds, music, science, and other clips.

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