Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: Snowflake Bentley


Jacqueline Briggs Martin lives in Vernon, Iowa with her family. She is an award winning author who has been honored as the recipient of the Bulletin Blue Ribbon book, SLJ Best book, ALA Notable, and many more. The way she is able to truly incorporate history into a fun and interesting children’s book in just incredible. Snowflake Bentley is based on a true story of W.A. Bentley and his early recordings of snowflakes. The book begins with W.A. Bentley as a child, playing in the snow and absolutely loving each and every snowflake. It then shows W.A. Bentley growing into a teen and how his family spent all their life savings on a camera for Bentley to use to photograph snowflakes. It then leads us to him in his older age, and how because of W.A. Bentley we now get to see pictures of snowflakes.  Another aspect about this book that was really enjoyable was on the side of each page there were true facts about W.A. Bentley himself. Therefore if you had a child which was really interested in learning more about this topic, you could refer him to this book. For example one page talked about how he got a camera, but the side information explained

 The camera made images on large glass negatives. Its microscope could magnify a tiny crustal from sixty-four to 3,600 times its actual size.

This book is truly a wonderful book for children of all ages.

Curriculum Connections
This book would be a wonderful asset to a lesson dealing with weather, observation, change of habitat, and many more. This book can help you cover many of the Virginia SOL’s for second grade.

Additional Resources

  • Jacqueline Briggs Martin   herself has a website with different materials which directly relate to her different books. This is a wonderful way of incorporating different materials along with her books. This is a great site with tons of different activities, check it out!!!
  • It would be really awesome to show the children Wilson Bentley’ actual site with real pictures of snowflakes he actually took pictures of.  This is a sight that you would project up in your classroom and actual read more about  Wilson Bentley himself, and observe some of his work.
  • This is actual a really awesome lesson plan dealing with snowflakes. I found it to be very cute and something that you could very realistically use in the classroom.

Book: Snowflakes Bentley
Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrator: Mary Azarian
Houghton Mifflin
Date:  1998
32 pages

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