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Crystal Growing Experiment: Grades K-4

Under parental or teacher supervision, the grade 5-8 experiment can be demonstrated. Just click on the grades 5-8 tab for instructions.

Crystal Growing Experiment: Grades 5-8



MATERIALS

2 pieces of 12-inch cotton yarn or string (cotton yarn wicks liquid better than acrylic yarn)
4 jars of the same size
2 saucers
washing soda (sodium carbonate) (substitute Epsom Salts if washing soda is unavailable)
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
warm water and mixing container

PROCEDURE

Dissolve as much of the washing soda/Epsom Salts as you can in very warm water. Arrange two jars on a windowsill with a saucer in between. Fill them about half way with the supersaturated solution.

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Crystal Growing Experiment: ADVANCED

Using the same experiment described for grades 5-8, you can observe effects on the deposition process by manipulating some of the variables, such as varying solutions by concentration and by environment (light and dark locations, warm and cool, or sealed and open). Try to predict what might happen. After results are recorded and compared, ask the following questions:

Which conditions were the most favorable for growth?

What do these conditions have in common?

Click HERE to go to a form which you can print out and use to record your findings.


INSTRUCTIONS

This crystal growing experiment will show how water can deposit minerals to create cavern formations, also known as speleothems. This process in a cavern takes thousands of years. You will be creating formations by using a salt-based chemical compound. This will speed up the process by using concentrated solutions and the sun's help in evaporation.

Pass your mouse button over the grade level tab to see a crystal growing experiment for your grade.

Crystal Growing Experiment Grades 5-8 PAGE 2

Tie a weight (such as a paperclip)to each end of a piece of yarn. Soak the yarn in the solution. Place the yarn so that each end is well inside the water solution in each jar and the middle is over the saucer. Make sure that the loop of the yarn is hanging lower than the water levels inside the jars.

Put just a touch of dry washing soda on the saucer.

Leave the jars for several days.

The solution in the jars will wick along the yarn, then drip off at the low point in the middle onto the saucer. Deposits should build up on the saucer and hang from the yarn and may eventually connect to form a "column."

Set up the second set of jars at the same time. Follow the same procedure except use the baking soda instead of the washing soda. Within 48 hours, you will notice the crystals look very different by comparison. They will look like a delicate cavern flower.

Label the first set of jars A and the second set B, or use a different drop of food coloring in each of the solutions, when mixing. This will make it easier for you to see the differences. Check the experiements daily to see the formation process.

Click HERE to go to a form which you can print out and use to record your findings.

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Click HERE to learn about cave formations.