Monday, August 25, 2008


This activity takes a few days, up to a week, after the setup to grow the crystals. The result is a variety of beautiful crystals for students to observe and compare.


Gather as many of the following substances as you can: Epsom salt, Alum (found in the spice section at the grocery store), Borax (found in the laundry section in your grocery store), Rock salt
Hot water
A glass jar for each type of crystal grown
Cotton thread
A pencil for each type of crystal grown (or Popsicle stick)

Use appropriate safety precautions when using hot water. Have an adult present for use with hot water.


1.With an adult, heat water on stovetop. Pour into glass jar.
2.Add your substance (Alum, Borax, Epsom salt, or Rock salt) to the hot water until you cannot stir in any more substance. This is a saturated solution.
3.Pour the above solution off into a clean jar. Leave behind any undissolved salt.
4.Tie a thread to a pencil (or Popsicle stick) and suspend the thread into your solution. Bridge the opening of the jar with the pencil.
5.Label your jar as to the type of solution.
6.Cover the jar with a piece of paper towel to control the rate of evaporation. Set aside in a place where it will not be disturbed.
7.Repeat above procedure with each substance. You should have 4 jars, one for each type of substance used. Label each.
8.Observe daily. Record your observations. Draw what you see.


As the water evaporates, the substance will come out of solution and begin to grow on the thread. This process can take days, even a week. Each crystal will look different. All 4 of these substances are a type of salt: Alum salt, Borax salt, Epsom salt, and Rock salt. As the liquid cools and the water evaporates, some of the molecules in the substance move closer together and join in a repeating pattern. The crystal grows in size by adding more molecules in the same pattern. Each type of crystal has a unique pattern.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


This is a fun and easy activity to do that involves
a chemical reaction. Your students will clean for
you, and they won't even complain!


Tarnished pennies
Small bowl or jar


Appropriate safety precautions to protect eyes while working with
vinegar should be used.


1. Place about ¼ cup (about 60 ml) vinegar into small bowl or jar.
2. Add about 2T (30ml) salt. Stir.
3. Add several tarnished pennies to the bowl. Leave one tarnished
penny aside to use for comparison.
4. Wait a few minutes. Ask, “What do you think will happen? Why?”
5. After a few minutes, remove the pennies.
6. Experiment with different amounts of vinegar and salt. Which
works best?


A chemical reaction occurred. Salt is sodium chloride. The chloride
from the salt combined with the hydrogen from the vinegar to form
hydrochloric acid, which cleaned the pennies.
You can use this formula to clean any copper or bronze object in your
home, or use especially formulated brass cleaner.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


When studying the weather, an easy science activity to do is make a hygrometer, which measures the humidity. This activity is best for homeschoolers because it requires an oven. The activity works great and is easy to do.


Pine cones
Aluminum foil
Cake pan


1. Place pine cones in water in the bowl.
2. Wait 45 minutes. Then draw a picture in
your science journal of the pine cones,
observing their scales.
3. Transfer pinecones to cake pan which you
have lined with foil for protection.
4. With an adult, bake the cones on low heat
in the oven for 30 minutes.
5. Remove pan from oven. Now draw a picture
of the scales in your science journal. Label.


A hygrometer measures the humidity (moisture in
the air.) A pine cone makes a good hygrometer.
When the pinecones are wet, the scales close
up. When they are dry, they open.