Growing crystals is a simple project that can be used for a classroom assignment or a science fair presentation to explain the process by which crystals form. Use ingredients such as salt, sugar, borax and Epsom salt to grow crystals of various shapes and forms. By having actual crystals on display, classmates and teachers can actually see what you have learnt.
Salt Crystal Gardens
One week before the science project presentation, set a clean shallow pan or bowl on a flat surface. Mix 6 tbsp table salt, 6 tbsp liquid bluing and 1 tbsp ammonia. Place three or more charcoal briquettes in the container. Pour the liquid mixture over the briquettes and dab drops of food colouring on their tops. Crystals will begin to grow on the briquettes within 24 to 48 hours. Place the container in a well ventilated room. Replenish the liquid mixture as it evaporates. Display the container garden of colourful growing crystals when presenting the science project.
Rock Candy Crystals
One to two weeks before class boil 3/4 cup of tap water and add 1 1/2 cup sugar. Stir the sugar until dissolved and leave the mixture cooking for an additional five minutes, or until it becomes clear. Pour the mixture into clean jars filling each one 2/3 full. Dip 3 inches of a 6-inch string into the sugar water and remove. Tie the dry end to a pencil and hang up until the string is dry. Once dry, replace the string back into the jar with the pencil laying across the jar's mouth. Put one string in each jar. Sugar crystals will begin growing in two to three days. Remove the rock candy crystals after one week and hang them up to dry. Cut the excess string from each rock candy crystal, wrap them individually in cling film. Pass out the edible rock candy crystals to classmates while presenting the project.
This science project uses borax to create snowflake shaped crystals. Cut two pipe cleaners in half and twist the pieces together at the centre to create an eight-point snowflake. Tie one end of a string around the centre of the snowflake and the other end around the centre of a pencil. Fill a wide mouthed quart jar with boiling water and add 12 tbsp of borax and stir until dissolved. Place the pipe cleaner snowflake in the borax and place the pencil across the jar's mouth. The snowflake should not touch the jar's bottom. Let the jar sit overnight to let the crystals grow on the pipe cleaner snowflake. Remove the crystal snowflake the next day and hang it up to dry in a warm space. Create multiple different shaped snowflakes to display. Hang the snowflake crystals from a small artificial tree or attach them to a poster board for display when presenting the science project.
Epsom Salt Crystal Animals
Make a round ball out of epoxy putty and use tweezers to insert Epsom salt crystals into its top. Pour 1/2 cup of hot water into a bowl and add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt. Stir the solution for one minute. Place the putty ball in the solution with the Epsom salt crystals facing up and place the bowl in the refrigerator. After three hours, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. A tall pile of crystals will have formed on the ball. Remove the ball from the solution and allow it to dry. Use additional clay, paint and markers to add limbs and faces to the exposed putty to form animals using the crystals as fur, spines or hair. Display these crystal animals on a sheet of cardboard for classmates to see as you explain the science in your project.
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