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They sparkle, they shine, and chances are you can find quite a few even in your own home…  What are these sparkly things you ask? Why crystals of course!

A crystal is an organized grouping of atoms or molecules. (science kids) These organized groupings fit together in a pattern and the matter or material is always a solid.(ducksters)

How do crystals form? Well the process of forming a crystal is called crystallization. 

When liquids cool and harden they stabilize in a repeating pattern. When lava cools sometimes we get emeralds and rubies and diamonds.(ducksters) Check out your parents or siblings jewelry as most often those stones are used to make fancy jewelry pieces.

If water evaporates from certain mixtures it forms crystals.(ducksters) Go check out your kitchen for this crystal which you can find in your salt shaker. Salt is a crystal as well and is used to season and preserve food.

When it snows, water freezes high up in the clouds and snowflakes or crystalized water is formed. Each snowflake has 6 sides but everyone is unique. (ducksters)

The flat surfaces of the crystals called facets may form geometric shapes such as triangles, rectangles or squares. (ducksters)

STEAM Lab: Grow Your Own Crystal Snowflake

Supplies:

  • Pipe Cleaners

  • Jar or glass container

  • Borax  (Can be found in Laundry Section of Grocery Store)

  • Scissors

  • Pencil

  • Measuring Spoons

  • Measuring Cup

  • Container to boil/heat water in

  • Spoon

Instructions:

Step 1:  Cut your pipe cleaner into 3 equal pieces.

Step 2: Hold the pieces together and twist at the center to join them together.

Step 3: Wrap one arm around your pencil and test the fit in the glass jar or container (it should not touch the sides or bottom. So you may need to trim your snowflake. After doing this take the snowflake out of the jar and set it to the side.

Step 4: You will need an adult for this as you will need to heat water: Heat water over the stove or in the microwave so that it is very hot or boiling. In order to have the right mix of borax to water remember it is 3 tablespoons of borax per cup of water (I used 2 cups of water for my crystals so 6 tablespoons of borax).

Step 5: Pour the hot water carefully into the container and then add your borax to the water.

Step 6: Stir the water until the borax dissolves. A small amount of undissolved borax at the bottom of the jar is ok.

Step 7: Hang the snowflake in the liquid making sure that it does not touch the bottom or sides.

Librarian Tip: You may need to add string make sure the snowflake is completely covered in the solution.

Step 8: Set the jar out of the way overnight to let the crystals grow. 

Step 9: Remove the snowflake from the jar the next day and let dry and you should have pretty crystals!

Resources

Crystals by Rebecca Pettiford

Crystals by Patrick Perish

Diamonds by Christine Petersen

Salt by John Perritano

Studying Snowflakes by Joseph Otterman