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Grow a Crystal
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Grow a big crystal with nothing more than sugar, or salt and water

Salt crystal booklet

Experiments in the kitchen are really good fun. This experiment involves mixing salt (sugar also makes a lovely crystal) and water to make a saturated solution. Itís a reasonably quick fun experiment but the crystal growing takes weeks, which is perfect for your kids if they donít live with you, because it theyíll look forward to seeing the progress when they come to visit. The experiment can be used as a basis for some interesting discussions about crystals and solutions. Record the results booklet provided.
. . .If you grow a salt crystal don't use dishwasher salt as this has various anti-caking additives which make it impossible for a big crystal to grow. Sugar makes a fabulous crystal, but it does take a long while to grow.
. . . Talk to your kids about the experiment. I donít believe in dumbing down things for children too much. They are learning machines and hungry for any interesting bits of information. As long as you use words that they understand, youíll find that kids of any age readily grasp new concepts. Discuss the experiment with your kids as you are doing it. But make sure you listen to what they are saying, when they are relaxed and having fun the things they talk about are a good window on how they are thinking and feeling.
. . . Keep any discussion about the experiment brief and to the point in hand so that they donít lose interest. On the project sheet (and below) you'll find an experimental discussion outline. This is just a few key interesting facts about the experiment, designed to help you fire up your children's interest, and help you explain simply what's going on in the experiment if they ask.
Salt crystal growing in jar

What is a salt crystal made of?
Trillions and trillions of Sodium Chloride molecules all arranged neatly in rows. As its name suggests, Sodium Chloride (the chemical name for slat) is made up from the two chemical elements, Sodium and Chlorine. The scientific way of writing this is NaCl (Na = Sodium, Cl = Chlorine). The molecules line up so that salt forms a cubic crystal.

How does the crystal grow?
As the water evaporates from the solution, the remaining water canít hold the salt in solution. The salt is deposited one molecule at a time and little crystals form as the salt molecules line themselves up in neat rows, because that is the only way that is the easiest (least energy) way they can fit together.

Why do we need salt?
Salt contains sodium and sodium is a vital chemical used by the body to make nerves work and help regulate the bodyís water levels. However, too much is bad for us and causes high blood pressure.

How much salt is there in sea water?
There are 78 kilogrammes of salt for every cubic meter of sea water. However salt only makes up about three quarters of the minerals dissolved in sea water.

The dadcando crystal growing experiment project download is available in both Both A4 and US Letter size, just click on the one that you want, and will automatically download. Print out both pages of the Instruction Download. Youíll find that page two is a neat little fold up book, which can be filled in, has a special frame for displaying your finished crystal, and is something nice to keep as a record of the experiment you did together.

Grow a crystal experiment download clever experimental project downloads from dadcando download an A4 printable from dadcandodownload US Letter printable from dadcando

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Your downloaded projects  

gusgreen's Grow a Crystal
Posted by gusgreen - Sophia and Edward partially impressed by the salt crystal experiment; slow progress
maddad's Grow a Crystal
Posted by maddad - I tried with sugar & failed miserably - it all dissolved. Same again with salt, but the 3rd attempt was excellent - 2 completely different crystals. They won't last long as the girls like to lick them.

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