Natural Science: How Do Crystals Grow?

A crystal is a special type of solid where the particles are arranged in an orderly and repeating pattern. When solids are dissolved in water, they form a solution, like when salt and water mix. As particles dissolve in water, the particles of the solid separate and distribute evenly throughout the mixture. Sometimes two dissolved particles move closer to each other and begin to attract, causing them to stick together. Over time more and more particles attach to the growing solid and “drop out of the solution”. The solid formed is a special compound called a crystal.

In this activity students will explore how crystals are made.

Materials:

Measuring cups (1/2 cup)
Tablespoons
Alum (spice can be found at grocery store)

Instructions:

  1. Add ½ cup of hot water to 2 ½ tablespoons of alum.
  2. Crystals will form within 30 minutes.
  3. Want bigger crystals add more alum to the water.

How It Works:

When the alum and water mix, the alum begins to accumulate in clusters and as the warm water evaporates, it leaves the lumped crystals behind. The alum forms not just a solid, but a solid with a repeating pattern, making a crystal.

Discussion Questions to Ask:

  • How did were the crystals made?
  • What characteristics do the crystals have?

There are many places where crystals grow in nature, like ice crystals are often formed in the winter, in colder climates as the liquid molecules freeze. Also in caverns, there are stalagmites and stalactites that are crystals of calcium carbonate. When teaching concepts like crystals, young students may become bored as the formation of the crystal may take longer than one class period. To keep the students’ attention, incorporate crystals-related activities in other areas, i.e. math (counting or matching crystals), art, geography (where do crystals form in nature), even in physical education (students can pretend to be frozen crystals and play tag). It is best to start this activity and others that take more than one day on a Friday, that way when the students return on Monday the process is complete. For other science teaching tips related to crystals, visit: http://bit.ly/10l3FXy

And for other Fun Learning Science Games, we invite you to visit here:

http://www.science-lessons.ca/games/ocean.html

http://www.science-lessons.ca/games/space.html

http://www.science-lessons.ca/games/brain.html

 http://www.literature-enrichment.com/

Teaching Through Natural Inspiration

For learners to become lifelong learners and well-rounded happy people in society, it is important for us to work with them.  Finding innovative ways of teaching that will produce effective results is a challenge that every teacher faces in the classroom.  Integrating learning with games simply makes teaching and learning fun.  In some cases where needed, it can provide an impetus for re-stimulating a child’s natural desire to learn.This is especially important if, during anywhere in the child’s schooling, there was an overemphasis on making the grade – where making the grade became a subconsciously anxiety-driven displaced goal for recognition and appreciation. Continue reading “Teaching Through Natural Inspiration”

What is a good topic for a science project?

A simple one would be to grow bean seeds (I think a lot of us did this back in elementary school). But you have to add a ‘twist’ for it to be a science project, so how about, you grow the bean in water that has been colored with drops …

A simple one would be to grow bean seeds (I think a lot of us did this back in elementary school). But you have to add a ‘twist’ for it to be a science project, so how about, you grow the bean in water that has been colored with drops …

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What is a good topic for a science project?

Crystal Candy

What could be more fun than doing a Science project? Doing a Science project and then eating it! The Crystal Candy project is a great idea for students from Grades Three to Six. This activity would be good to use when studying about solutions, evaporation, or geology (rock/crystal formation). Students should record how many teaspoons are able to be dissolved in the solution. Students could also sketch the jar at various stages: once when the sugar has just been stirred in and once every day after that until the water has all evaporated.

Continue reading “Crystal Candy”