Snowflakes, Part II: 3D origami, fractals in the Alps, artistic apps

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Welcome to adventurous math for the playground crowd! I am Moby Snoodles, and I love to hear from you at

Moby New Year

Special snowflakes, take 2!

Happy holidays! Last December, we wrote about snowflake-related math in our December newsletter. “Special Snowflake” is one of the most popular activities in the Moebius Noodles book (see below) and our workshops, so we are doing a snowflake newsletter again!

Snowflakes as fractals

What do snowflakes, trees, corals, and your lungs have in common? They consist of branching structures! These types of structures are called tree fractals. Check out instructions on how to make a hexagon-based fractal snowflakes designed by MathRecreation. You can make some snowflake tree fractals – or maybe tree tree fractals – as holiday decorations.
Tree Fractals Snowflakes

3D origami snowflakes

Most people know how to cut snowflakes out of paper. The Japanese term for paper craft with scissors is kirigami. But you can also make snowflakes in the tradition of origami, that is, folding without cutting. Just follow video instructions from Origami Maniacs. Origami is an art, but also a type of geometry, with its own set of axioms more powerful than Euclid’s. And as far as young kids are concerned, paper folding develops attention, precision, and appreciation of beauty: the values necessary for doing mathematics.

Giant snowflakes in the Alps… or at the beach

Check out giant snowflake art pieces covering whole mountain slopes. Even if you are not joining Simon Beck’s math adventures in the French Alps, you can make smaller symmetrical designs at the park or in your yard.
Snow is not an option? Make snowflake art at the sandy beach or in a sandbox!

Snowflake lapware

Lapware is the software for the kid cuddling in your lap. Here are my picks that show both beauty and symmetry of snowflakes.
Weave Silk feels great on touch screens (Android, iOS), but you can also play it on PC. The interface is easy enough for toddlers, and includes terms like 6-fold symmetry for parents.
Make sure to click both 2D and 3D rotate buttons after designing a snowflake with zefrank’s browser applet. The transformations are mesmerizing!
SymmetriSketch software for Mac, Windows or Linux comes from – with the name like that, it must be awesome!


You are welcome to share, remix and tweak. Please credit under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license: CC BY-NC-SA.


Happy Holidays!

Moby Snoodles, aka Dr. Maria Droujkova

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