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Activity: Measure Snow

Activity Type: Lesson Plans / Curriculum |
Audience: Students |
Grades: K-4
Learning Time: 30 minutes

This activity guides you on how to make a snow stick to measure snow with common materials in your home.


Winter starts December 21, and snow has already begun to fall. Throughout the winter, scientists measure and compare snowfall at different locations. This snowfall data is important for understanding snowstorms and measuring the average snowfall from year-to-year. Scientists also measure how much snow melts and is stored in Earth’s water cycle.

Earth-observing satellites like the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) help scientists measure snowfall in remote areas where scientists can’t measure the snow themselves. JPSS watches the clouds as they form heavy storms and drop snow to the ground. During and after a snowstorm, JPSS can measure how much snow is falling and how deep the snow on the ground is. These snowfall rates are measured as they happen, helping scientists forecast snowfall and snowfall depth

Collage of activity text and photos a snow scene and snow stick.