I’d like to share a picture book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin that connects wonderfully to many different types of lessons.
Snowflake Bentley won the Caldecott Medal in 1999. It could be integrated into science, literature, a snow and winter theme, a study of biographies, symmetry, art and beauty, and in addition could be used to highlight Level D of the DWS Hierarchy.
Martin’s award-winning book tells the story of Wilson Bentley, who is sometimes referred to as “The Snowflake Man.”
By learning about the life of Wilson Bentley, students have the opportunity to think about someone operating at a very high level of autonomy. This is always an inspiring thing to do! Being a picture book, it is best suited to elementary school students but certainly, a study of this man’s life and work would be appropriate for age group.
Regardless of how others thought he should spend his time, Bentley’s passion for snowflakes relentlessly drove him to study the mystery of this beautiful natural creation. Eventually he developed a unique method of photography. Over a lifetime, he added much knowledge to our understanding of the science of snowflakes and much beauty to the world, sharing his photographs of intricate, individual snowflakes. Thanks to Wilson Bentley, we know that no two snowflakes are identical!
In addition to enjoying the story, learning about snow, and studying his photography and scientific findings, students could be prompted to think about all the various attributes of Level D that Bentley displayed in his life:
- sharing with others
- a desire to be of service to others
- intense focus
- pursuing an interest with passion
- following a dream, despite the fact that others tried to dissuade him
This website features some original Bentley photographs.