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"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Science Investigations that all students should do Before High School, #7: Growing Crystals

 #7: Growing Crystals

For this project, you will need:
pipe-cleaner
string
water
Borax, Epsom Salts, Table Salt and/or Sugar
Container that is large enough to hold your completed snowflake
Food color, optional

Put some water on to boil.


Have your students examine the crystals with a magnifying glass.


If you use more than one type of crystal, have them compare them.

You can create any shape for the crystals to build on, and in fact, you can grow them on just a string, but snowflakes are a particularly pleasant shape for this project. You can create your snowflake by cutting a pipe cleaner into 3 pieces. Twist the pieces together at the center to form a six-legged shape. You can add more small pipe cleaner pieces if you wish. Make sure the snowflake fits into the container you will use.
Tie a piece of string to one leg of the snowflake.
Fill the container with boiling water
Add Borax, Salt, Epsom Salt, or Sugar one tablespoon at a time to the water. Stir after each tablespoon to dissolve. Stir as much into the water as possible, stopping when it no longer dissolves. This is called a Saturated Solution.
Add food color drops, if desired, to create color.

You can either suspend the pipe-cleaner snowflake in the jar or you can lay it down in a flat container. If you use the jar, roll the string around the pencil so that the snowflake hangs from the pencil laid across the jar. If you use a flat container, just lay it down on the bottom of the container.
Allow the container you use to sit undisturbed for several days.



Once the liquid has dissolved you can take the snowflake out of the container and carefully hang it up.
They look lovely hanging in the window.


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5 comments:

  1. How fun, my kids just did these experiments and had a lot of fun. Glad your kids did too

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  2. Ooh, great idea with the pipe cleaners! We did this with random shaped rocks, and left them for a few weeks in different liquids. Emerald turned out the best...but salt was second. The rubys sort of came apart...making me think that we might have messed up that one. Anyway...happy schooling!

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  3. Yep, that's another "must-do" for sure!

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  4. Yes. this is classic that we only tried once with sugar and created some "rock candy". One of these days we should make one with prettier crystals :)

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  5. We have never been all that successful at growing crystals, I have to admit.

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