The boys and I have experimented with crystals a lot over the past year. We love watching as the crystals grow like magic. Growing crystals is a perfect science experiment for my oldest, since he is learning about mixtures and solutions at school. In an earlier experiment, we learned Borax crystals were the easiest to grow. With fall arriving, and cooler temperatures, we are enjoying daily walks again. During our walks, the boys always end up picking up a few items along the way. As we looked over our picked up items, we wondered if crystals would grow on them. We all decided it would be fun to create our own fall themed Borax crystal science project with a few different items we picked up.
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During one of our walks, the boys picked up leaves, acorns, and sticks.
When we got home, each one picked out an item they wanted to grow crystals on. They picked an acorn, a leaf, and small pinecone. We followed the directions in a previous post for Borax crystals, but for simplicity, I’ll share the instructions again below.
- fall item (a leaf, acorn, pinecone, stick, etc)
- 6 inch long piece of butcher string
- small glass mason jar
- red and yellow food coloring, to make orange
Step 1: Tie one end of the cooking string around the fall item.
Step 2: Tie the other end of the cooking string around the chopstick.
Step 3: Boil 1/2 cup of water. Add a couple of drops of red and yellow food coloring to the water while waiting for it to boil.
Step 4: Slowly pour in 1/4 cup of borax, and stir until all the borax is dissolved. You should see small crystals forming on the surface of the water.
Step 5: When all the Borax is dissolved in the water, set the solution aside, and let it cool for 5 minutes.
Step 6: Transfer the borax water solution into the mason jar.
Step 7: Stick the fall item into the water/borax solution.
Step 8: Leave alone for 24 hours.
Our Fall Borax Crystal Science Project
The boys picked out a lot of items on our walk, but I asked each one to pick only 1 item to make into a crystal. After their selection, we had one acorn, one pinecone, and one leaf.
My oldest and I tied a piece of string to each item. We ended up tying the string around the acorn and pinecone. We had to be very careful with the leaf, and ended up tying the string to the leaf’s stem.
Then we followed the instructions for the borax solution, and filled 3 small mason jars with orange borax water. We carefully placed each of our fall items into the filled mason jars.
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We left our jars alone overnight. When we woke up in the morning, we pulled the acorn, leaf, and pinecone out of the liquid, and look what we found!
As we examined our results further we noticed crystals grew all over the acorn and pinecone. We also noticed crystal growth on the pinecone and acorn had areas where the crystals took off, and a bunch of crystals grew.
Next week examined the leaf, and noticed the crystals only grew on one side of the leaf!
Our leaf results made us wonder what other items we should try growing crystals on. We wanted to better understand why the crystals only grew on one side of the leaf.
What items do you want to try? Why do you think the crystals only grew on one side of the leaf? I would love to hear your ideas!
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