As we are starting to go towards the end of our rocks and minerals unit (and I somehow got a week ahead of my 2 cohorts because they've been subbed out and other stuff), I took this week slow and had some fun.
Thursday was the most exciting day (well for me personally haha!) We did two experiments to make crystals. I even heard "This is the best day ever!"
I referred to my kids the whole day as "my scientists" and they ate it up! They couldn't wait to come back from specials so we could get started. I had 2 mason jars per table (I have 5 table groups). This allowed for some team work time (plus I didn't have enough jars for each kid).
Materials used: mason jars, food coloring, water, borax, straw (or pencil), string, and pipe cleaner (or chenille stem, fuzzy stick or whatever your store now calls it).
I bought a hot water pot and heats the water up super fast. I mixed 3 TBS borax per cup of boiling water and then added food coloring. I did blue for fun. While I was doing this, the kids were cutting the white pipe cleaners and making snow flakes, tying string to them, and then the string to straws. I poured the mixture over their snowflakes that were now hanging from the straw that was resting on the mouth of the jar.
This will have to sit overnight before crystals form on the snowflake. The next day, the kids rushed to hang up their backpacks and crowded the windowsills to see their crystals. I cut their snowflakes apart at the end of the day so they could each have 2 pieces to take home. They were so thrilled.
This one was mine!
The second crystal experiment needed black construction paper, epsom salt, water, and pie plates. Now I don't know if it's because the epsom salt I had was smelly like eucalyptus and peppermint or because it was old, but it only worked 1/2 the time for the kids.
You mix 1 TBS to 1/4 cup warm water and pour it over the black construction paper that's on the bottom of the pie plate (I only had paper plates). When the water evaporates, the salt should bind together to make patterns. I told the kids whose experiments failed, that is what happens to scientists and they have to figure out how to fix the problem.
They loved the patterns and that the crystals formed on the plate too.
Friday was epic. Well for me anyway. We did Jeopardy on a powerpoint with the music and everything! I even gave an intro like we were on a show and introduced the contestants (aka the table groups). They had so much fun and before we knew it, lunch time had rolled around.
Won't they be surprised Monday when they see a jar with red crystals and a jar of green crystals. Maybe because their teacher had a lot of fun making them too. I also just ordered rock candy to give to them to end the unit. They'll love it! I thought about making it, but buying will be less messy and a time saver!