Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grow Your Own Crystal Project

Ever the budding scientist at heart, we purchased a "Space Age Crystal Growing Kit" after our 3-year-old finished her butterfly experiment last month. As a family, we all really enjoy checking on our projects daily to monitor and discuss progress. 

We ordered the kit through Amazon, and although it says the product is for ages 12 and up, we knew we wouldn't allow our daughter to handle any of the contents and that we would conduct the experiment very carefully. Our daughters would be the observers and would help gather materials.

We decided to start by growing the "QUARTZ" crystal cluster first. The directions instructed us to find a rock with a diameter of 4" and a height of about 1", so we grabbed a ruler and went a' hunting in our yard! Our daughter really enjoyed measuring different rocks, and the rock hunt was a great lesson in itself. She learned how to use a ruler and measured about a hundred objects in the yard. 
On the hunt...
Eventually, we found a few rocks that were just right, so I let her conduct some final measurements to make the choice as to which rock we would use as the base for our crystals.

Next, we had to weigh out 12.5 ounces of water, which I helped her accomplish. Again, this was a wonderful opportunity for her to delve into science experimentation. She enjoyed trying to get the correct weight...

so much so, that she stole the scale and began running around the house, weighing everything she could find.

While my wily one ran about, weighing various items, I boiled the water and placed the chemical contents of the "QUARTZ" package inside the container we found to grow the crystal clusters. I gave her a magnifying glass and allowed her to look at the mixture before we added the water.

Next, I had my daughter stand back while I carefully poured the boiling water into the crystal mixture. I stirred the contents until the chemical was completely dissolved in the water.

Then, using rubber gloves, I slowly inserted the found rock into the mixture so that crystals could grow on its surface.
Space Age Crystal Growing Kit
We covered the container with a lid and waited...
Space Age Crystal Growing Kit
Within a few hours, crystals started growing up from the bottom of the container!
Space Age Crystal Growing Kit
It was exciting to see them grow taller!
Space Age Crystal Growing Kit
After a day, we removed the lid, poured the tiny bit of remaining powder we had saved on top of the rock and left it uncovered. Our daughter LOVED checking on our project, always supervised, as time passed.

The directions instructed us to wait until the crystals reached the top of the fluid to end the experiment, that way the liquid could be saved for future use, but we didn't know what we'd do with it if we did.

We decided to let the water evaporate entirely. So we left the crystals to grow over the course of a month, observing frequently with our trusty magnifying glass.
Space Age Crystal Growing Kit
Crystals began to form all along the sides of the container as well.
In the end, we dislodged the rock with a screwdriver and observed it with a magnifying glass again. The "QUARTZ" shapes were fascinating, very much like snowflake formations and beautiful!
Space Age Crystal Growing Kit
 We displayed our "QUARTZ" on the bookshelf when the project was complete.
Space Age Crystal Growing Kit

Space Age Crystal Growing Kit
This was a fun and interesting experiment. The kit came with three other compounds that we are going to tackle next- "AMETHYST," "FLOURITE," and "EMERALD," which we will begin tomorrow! We would certainly recommend this project, with careful adult supervision, for families that appreciate and respect the scientific process and who just want to watch the magic of nature unfold.

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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