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Saturation – Growing Crystals

Saturation – Growing Crystals

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Crystals are made when a substance has atoms or molecules that form in a very organized, repeating, 3D pattern. Usually when we think of crystals we think of some well-known gemstones like diamonds or rubies, but there are some very common crystals too. Sugar, ice, snowflakes, salt…all of these are crystals. You can make your own crystals grow.

You will need:srpcrystalpour

  • 2 Glasses or Jars
  • 1 Plate
  • 1 Spoon
  • 2 Paper Clips
  • Hot Tap Water
  • Piece of Yarn or Cotton String, about 6 inches long
  • Baking Soda

srpcrystalstring1Fill each glass with water. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to each glass. Stir the mixture. If all of the baking soda dissolves, add a little more baking soda and stir. Add baking soda until the water can’t dissolve it anymore, the mixture is saturated. That means the water is holding as much of the baking soda as it can. You can add a few drops of food coloring to each glass to make the crystals colorful. Tie a paper clip to each end of the piece of yarn or string. Drop one paperclip into each glass letting the string dangle in a smile shape in between the glasses but not touching the plate. Watch the string over the next few days to see the crystals form along the string.

The picture on the right shows you what the srpcrystalsgrowth2baking soda crystals will look like after a few days. As the days go by and the water in the baking soda solution evaporates, the level of the water will go down. Make sure the end of the string with the paper clip on it stays submerged in the baking soda water in the glass.

Science Experiment Idea

Grow more than one kind of crystal. Use salt, sugar, and baking soda. Keep a chart as you observe how the crystals grow over the next few weeks. Which one do you think will grow the biggest? Which one will form the fastest?

Here is a video that shows you some super fast crystal growing:

Here are some books and websites that give you ideas for making crystals. You can grow crystals using salt, sugar, baking soda and many other substances.

Science Rocks Science Projects for Curious Kids Mixtures and Solutions Crystal and Gem
What Are Crystals? Let's Rock Crystals Groovy Gems

Words to Know:
Crystal
– A solid whose atoms or molecules are arranged in a 3-dimensional repeating pattern. Examples: A snowflake, a sugar crystal, a diamond.
Crystallized – The process of crystal growth or crystal formation.
Dissolve – To mix two substances together and have the molecules of one substance spread out between the molecules of the other substance.
Saturated – When a liquid is holding as much of a solid as it can. It has dissolved all of the solid it can hold.

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Polymers – Cornstarch Goo

Polymers – Cornstarch Goo

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Today’s project has three great elements, it’s easy, it’s fun and it’s a big mess!srpcornstarchsetup2

 

What You Need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Measuring Cup
  • Cookie Sheet or Tray – with sides!
  • Gallon Size Ziploc Bag (optional – for storage)

Put 1 cup of cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Add water slowly to the cornstarch – about 1/2 cup. Mix the cornstarch and water with your hands until it starts to feel like a sticky glue.  Try to pick up a handful of the goo. Squeeze your hand around the goo to make a fist around it. What happens? Now relax your hand. What happens now? Pour the goo onto a cookie sheet or tray. Make sure the sheet or tray has sides! Lay your hand on top of the goo and leave it there for a few seconds. Pull your hand straight up and watch what happens.

srpcornstarchdrips2Cornstarch goo is an anomaly – that means it’s weird! It doesn’t act like it should. Sir Isaac Newton is famous for figuring out certain rules that apply to things on earth. One of his rules is that matter can take three forms: solid, liquid and gas. Liquids flow and take the shape of the container they are in. The cornstarch goo seems like a liquid because it flows off your fingers and it takes the shape of the container you put it in. But when you squeeze the goo…it turns into a solid. So which is it? A liquid or a solid? Cornstarch goo is called a non-Newtonian fluid because it doesn’t behave by Sir Isaac Newton’s rules.

Cornstarch goo is also a polymer. That means it’s molecules are arranged in a long chain. When the chain of molecules stretches…like the goo flowing off the fingers in this photo, the goo behaves like a liquid and flows. As soon as the goo has pressure applied to it – like when you squeeze it in your fist or when you rest your hand on it in the tray, it behaves like a solid and feels stiff and strong.

Usually matter turns into a liquid when it is heated and when liquid is heated it “gets runnier.” Viscosity is how resistant a liquid is to flow. Flow is a liquid’s movement in a current or stream. Water has a low viscosity and flows fast. Honey has a high viscosity and flows slowly. If you heat honey or lava…it flows faster. That is one of Sir Isaac’s rules too…that the viscosity of liquids goes up as the liquid is heated. With cornstarch goo, the viscosity changes when you put pressure on it instead of when you heat it. Weird again!

Science Project Idea: Get three bowls and measure 1 cup of a powdered substance into each bowl. 1 cup of cornstarch in bowl #1, 1 cup of baking soda in bowl #2 and 1 cup of flour in bowl #3. If you step back and look at the bowls they will all look pretty much the same – a bowl with white powder in it. Now pour 1/2 cup of water into each bowl and mix each bowl with your fingers. Do the mixtures behave the same? How do they behave differently? How would you describe each mixture? A solid or a liquid? You could also try baking soda and powdered sugar.

Here are some websites and books that will help you understand cornstarch goo:

Science Rocks Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes Plastics and Polymers Plastics and Polymers Science Fair Projects

Words to Know:

Polymers – Molecules arranged in a long chain.
Non-Newtonian Fluid – A fluid that doesn’t flow like you would expect when you put pressure on it.
Liquid – A state of matter. In the liquid state, matter can flow or take the shape of the container it is in.
Viscosity – How resistant to flowing a liquid is. Water has low viscosity and flows fast. Honey has high viscosity and flows slow.

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Science Experiment: Polymers – Borax Goo

Science Experiment: Polymers – Borax Goo

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What You Need:

  • White Glue
  • Borax (In the Laundry Detergent Aisle)
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Ziploc Bag
  • Measuring Cups
  • Spoon
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Food Coloring (Optional)

Measure 1 cup water into an empty bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of Borax to the water and stir until the Borax is dissolved. Now put 1/2 cup white glue in a ziploc bag and add 1 cup water. Seal the bag and squish to mix the glue and water. Now add the water/Borax mixture to the ziploc bag. Reseal the bag and squish it some more. After you mix it for awhile empty the ziploc bag out onto the cookie sheet and mix it with your hands. Borax Goo is like Cornstarch Goo – it’s a non-Newtonian fluid. That means that sometimes it acts like a liquid and sometimes it acts like a solid.

Sir Isaac Newton is famous for figuring out certain rules that apply to things on earth. One of his rules is that matter can take three forms: solid, liquid and gas. Liquids flow and take the shape of the container they are in. The Gak/Flubber/Gluep seems like a liquid because it flows off your fingers and it takes the shape of the container you put it in. But when you squeeze the Gak/Flubber/Gluep…it turns into a solid. So which is it? A liquid or a solid? It’s a non-Newtonian fluid because it doesn’t behave by Sir Isaac Newton’s rules.

Gak/Flubber/Gluep is also a polymer. That means it’s molecules are arranged in a long chain. When the chain of molecules stretches…like the goo flowing off the fingers in this photo, the goo behaves like a liquid and flows. As soon as the Gak/Flubber/Gluep has pressure applied to it – like when you squeeze it in your fist or when you rest your hand on it in the tray, it behaves like a solid and feels stiff and strong.

Usually matter turns into a liquid when it is heated and when liquid is heated it “gets runnier.” How easily a liquid flows is called viscosity. Water has a low viscosity and flows fast. Honey has a high viscosity and flows slowly. If you heat honey or lava…it flows faster. That is one of Sir Isaac’s rules too…that the viscosity of liquids goes up as the liquid is heated. With Gak/Flubber/Gluep, the viscosity is changes when you put pressure on it instead of when you heat it.

Science Project Idea: Get three bowls and measure 1 cup of a powdered substance into each bowl. 1 cup of borax in bowl #1, 1 cup of baking soda in bowl #2 and 1 cup of flour in bowl #3. If you step back and look at the bowls they will all look pretty much the same – a bowl with white powder in it. Now pour 1/2 cup of water into each bowl and mix each bowl with your fingers. Do the mixtures behave the same? How do they behave differently? How would you describe each mixture? A solid or a liquid? You could also try baking soda and powdered sugar and cornstarch.

Here are some websites and books to help you experiment with your own slimy Gak/Flubber/Gluep or whatever you want to call it.

Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes Plastics and Polymers Plastics and Polymers Science Fair Projects Experimental Chemistry

Words to Know:

Polymers – Molecules arranged in a long chain.
Non-Newtonian Fluid – A fluid that doesn’t flow like you would expect when you put pressure on it.
Liquid – A state of matter. In the liquid state, matter can flow or take the shape of the container it is in.
Viscosity – How resistant to flowing a liquid is. Water has low viscosity and flows fast. Honey has high viscosity and flows slow.

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Atoms – A Bunch of Empty Space

Atoms – A Bunch of Empty Space

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Everything in the universe is made of matter. Matter has mass (that means it is made up of something) and takes up space. Matter is made of atoms. Atoms are teeny, tiny – so tiny you can’t see them.

srpatomthumbSome things are made up of just one kind of atom. These things are called elements. Some examples are oxygen, hydrogen & copper – you can look at a list of all of the known elements on a periodic table.

A single atom has three parts:

  • Electrons – a particle with a negative charge
  • Protons – a particle with a positive charge
  • Neutrons – a particle with no charge

The center of the atom is called the nucleus and the protons and neutrons are located there. The electrons are outside the nucleus. Sometimes two or more atoms come together to make a molecule.  Water is an examply of a molecule. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom.

Websites:

What you might not know, is that there is a whole lot of empty space between the parts of an atom. When atoms come together to form molecules the molecules also have a lot of empty space.  Atoms and molecules are made up mostly of empty space. You can prove that this is true:

What You Need:

  • A Glass
  • Warm Tap Water
  • Powdered Sugar

Fill the glass all the way to the top with warm tap water – the water should bulge at the top of the glass but not spill over. (Surface tension makes the water do that!) Now take a teaspoon and slowly add 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar to the water. Doesn’t it seem like 1 teaspoon of water should spill out of the glass when you add 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar? Does it? Add another teaspoon of powdered sugar. How many teaspoons of powdered sugar can you add before the glass of water finally overflows?

The powdered sugar molecules dissolve into the water. The powdered sugar fills in the empty spaces between the water molecules. Even though it doesn’t seem like it…the glass of water is actually full of empty space!

Science Experiment Idea: Get 3 identical glasses. Fill the first glass with ice water (remove the cubes!), the second glass room temperature water and the third glass with hot tap water. Remember to fill the glasses up until the water bulges at the top. Now count how many teaspoons of powdered sugar you can add to each glass before the water start to spill out. Does the temperature of the water effect how much powdered sugar you can add?

Bill Nye Home Demo – Hole-y Water

Atoms and Molecules Energy & Atoms: Nuclear Power Atoms and Molecules Who Invented teh Periodic Table? The Periodic Table

Words to Know:

Atoms – The smallest, most basic unit of matter. An atom is made up of a nucleus surrounded by electrons.
Molecules At least two atoms held together by a chemical bond.
Matter – Has mass and takes up space.
Periodic Table – A table or chart of the chemical elements.
Mass – How much matter fits in a given space.
Dissolve – When a solid comes apart and spreads out into a liquid…like kool aid in water.

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Science Experiment: Polymers – Poke Holes in a Ziploc

Science Experiment: Polymers – Poke Holes in a Ziploc

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What You Need:

srpziplocpencilssetup

  • Ziploc Bag
  • Water
  • Several Sharpened Pencils

Fill the ziploc bag half full of water. Zip it closed. Hold a pencil in one hand while you use the other hand to poke the pencil all the way through the ziploc bag – have the pencil go in one side and come all the way out the other side. Repeat with more pencils.  Does any water spill out? Do you know why? No water spills out of the holes because ziploc bags are made of a polymer.

srpziplocpencilsPolymers have long chains of molecules that are flexible. When you poke the sharp pencil into the plastic the pencil point slides in between the chain of molecules that make up the polymer. The molecule chains “hug” the pencil, making a seal around the pencil that won’t let the water out. What happens when you pull the pencils out?

Once you figure out how to do this one, try to get someone to stand still while you are holding the bag over their head. srpziplocpencilsdogPoke the pencils through the bag to get them to trust your science…then pull the pencils out and see what happens! We tried it over the dog’s head. She liked it when the pencils got pulled out – a dog drinking fountain!

Websites:

Books:

Science Rocks Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes Plastics and Polymers Plastics and Polymers Science Fair Projects

 

Words to Know:

Atoms – The smallest, most basic unit of matter. An atom is made up of a nucleus surrounded by electrons.
Molecules At least two atoms held together by a chemical bond.
Polymers – Molecules arranged in a long chain.

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