Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We Grew Crystals!

At some point during the year I asked the kids what they wanted to learn about.  Kayla chose crystals. So a quick Pinterest search and we came across this tutorial.  
All you need is alum and water.  We learned that alum is a sulfate that is used to make pickles crunchy.  Next time I can a batch of pickles I'll try it!

Start by stirring in a teaspoon of alum in about a cup of hot water until it dissolves. Continue this until it no longer dissolves.  Just to give you an idea, we were in the 12-14 teaspoon range.  

Now you have a saturated mixture.
We kept a science journal this year (when I remembered to have them add to it) and we kept an almost daily record of this experiment. On the first day I had the kids write just a couple of sentences about what we did and they drew a picture. 

That's it for day one. 

Day 2.  You'll see a bunch of tiny crystals covering the bottom of your jar.
After the kids check it all out, have them pick out a big one. (it's still tiny) Now tie a piece of fishing line to it. This was the hardest part of the whole experiment. Tie the crystal to a pencil. 
Before you return the crystal to the liquid, clean out the jar. Pour the liquid into a second jar. You will have to do this on an almost daily basis from here on out. You want your crystal to be the only one in the liquid so it can grow as big as it can. 
Now that you have clean liquid, lay the pencil across the top of the jar and let the crystal hang in the liquid. Make sure it isn't touching the bottom or sides.
Don't forget to record your steps and observations in your journal!
Check on your crystal every day. It will grow quickly! Remember to clean out any new crystals that you find. You can retie your crystal to keep it from growing around the fishing line. We left ours while we were out of town and they grew over. No big deal. 
Record your observations!
The picture above is just a few days into the experiment. The picture below is a few weeks. At this point we were only journaling once a week. 
See how long you can keep your crystal growing. We left ours for a while and a new crystal had formed under the main one. 

Over the years I had tried different ways to grow crystals. This was by far the best result!

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