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Free Homeschooling Crystal Growing Experiment
Before we begin our cool crystal experiment, let's learn the basics of crystal growing (using salt as an example).
The same rules would apply when you grow sugar, alum or other crystals.
Saturated Solution: Take 3 cups of water (solvent) in a heat-resistant glass vessel and add a few spoons of salt (solute) to it.
Stir the solution till all the salt dissolves.
Now keep on adding one spoonful of salt at a time while you stir the solution.
You will find that after a particular point of saturation, the salt refuses to dissolve, leaving some crystals at the bottom.
This solution is called a saturated solution.
Super Saturated Solution: Now heat this solution and continue to stir it.
You will see that the salt crystals begin to dissolve.
Continue adding more salt till you come to a point where the salt no longer dissolves.
This solution is called a super saturated solution.
Whether you are into free homeschooling or not, you will have to make a super saturated solution in order to grow crystals.
Aiding Crystal Formation Don't you need a little push in order to drink your milk and eat your vegetables? The super saturated solution also needs a little push in order to begin the crystal growing process.
If you introduce a rough object such as a stick or a rock into the solution, the crystals begin to grow on them.
You can also introduce a "seed" or a grain of salt (in this case) into the super saturated solution, and the crystals will start forming by clumping to the seed.
Crystals form faster in hot and dry climate, and slower in cool and humid climate.
Keeping your solution in a warm place will make them grow faster.
Trial and Error If the solute is less than required, the crystals will take a very long time to form.
On the other hand, if you add too much of the solute, the whole solution will crystallize into one solid rock, making it difficult for you to remove the crystals out of the jar.
Therefore you need some practice and experience in order to arrive at the right amount of solute and the right amount of solvent.
All home school schedules, including free homeschooling, allows you enough time so that you can learn at your own pace.
So if your solution doesn't turn out right, you will need to have some patience and do some research.
Now on to our Cool Crystal Candy experiment...
First you will have to make a super saturated solution of sugar (as discussed above).
For this, boil about three cups of water in a pot and add 5 cups of sugar to it.
Stir till the sugar melts completely.
Now add one more cup of sugar and stir.
Continue till the sugar no longer dissolves.
The liquid should turn yellowish and thick.
Cool the solution and add your favorite color to it.
Now pour the solution into a few clean glass jars.
Tie as many strings as the number of jars to a knitting needle or a skewer and place the knitting needle horizontally across the mouths of the jars with the strings dipping in the sugar solution.
Observe the crystal formation daily.
You will see crystals forming around the strings within 24 hours.
As days pass by, you will notice beautiful colored crystal formation: your cool crystal candy.
Pull them out of the solution when you are satisfied with the thickness of the crystal growth and allow a day to dry.
Now you can enjoy your rock candy!