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Growing borax crystals-a homeschool science project

Last week, the Home crew grew crystals from borax soap. Borax soap-as in laundry detergent, just check the laundry aisle…it’s a powder. This project was instigated through our Classical Conversations group, I am a tutor this year for master’s class. I admit, if I didn’t have to do this for the class, I most likely would not have done this cool project. I spend most of my time working to get our basic school work done, special projects get left by the wayside, unfortunately. But, I’m here to tell you…

*This one was fun! *Didn’t take much preparation!

*Didn’t need many ingredients! *Wasn’t messy!

Each time I pull off a neat project, I am inspired to do more with my kids- I hope this inspires you to do the same!I chose to use Borax powder instead of sugar to make rock candy, because I had heard and read mixed results with the success of getting the sugar to grow. (and then I cheated and just bought rock candy!! The sugary final product to eat is the point, really now-admit it)

I found the directions by googling on the internet. Here is roughly what we did:

Supplies

  • jar
  • boiling water
  • pipe cleaners cut into small pieces, we then twisted them into star shapes
  • string and a stick to tie them to
  • borax powder (3 tablespoons per cup of hot water, I used 2 cups of water in my jar)

procedure

Prepare your pipe cleaners and string first, make sure they will hang in the jar without touching the bottom, yet will hang low enough for the 2 cups of water to cover them.

Boil your water. Once boiling, measure out 2 cups and pour into jar. Parent needs to do this.

Next, stir in borax 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring to dissolve. This part is fun for the kids.
After the borax is all in, put in your stars and then set the jar somewhere where it will not be disturbed. Check daily to see crystal growth.

I made lab sheets on Word, typing in the name of the project on the top, with the directions to draw what they observed.

I made a second comprehension sheet that listed the experiment, the hypothesis, and our procedure. Then, I typed in a short paragraph describing what occurred and why- the Science behind the project, leaving blanks for key-word like “crystal”, “dissolve“salt” “cube-shaped”, “molecule”, “saturation” and the kids filled these in as we discussed the why.


Easy-peasy.

fun

beautiful

educational

try it!

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About the author: Jenn; writer, photographer, homeschooled five children and lived to tell the tale.

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Kelly March 4, 2010, 6:30 PM

    What a cool science experiment! I'm going to try this next week with my kids!
    From one homeschooling mom to another–thank you! :)

  • Pam, mom, honey, March 5, 2010, 2:19 AM

    i am trying to remember if i have pipe cleaners, this looks fun. i need to make laundry soap tomorow so the borax will be out anyways

  • Pam, mom, honey, March 5, 2010, 2:19 AM

    i am trying to remember if i have pipe cleaners, this looks fun. i need to make laundry soap tomorow so the borax will be out anyways

  • Hen Jen March 5, 2010, 2:24 AM

    Pam,

    it was really fun and easy, your kids will really enjoy it. I put 3 stars into each jar, I cut the pipecleaners into about 2 inch pieces and twisted them together, they were not very big.

    thanks for visiting and commenting!

  • Chalk Inscriptions March 7, 2010, 1:35 AM

    I have been wanting to try this! I will have to follow your directions!

  • Hen Jen March 7, 2010, 3:28 AM

    Kelly,

    let me know how the experiment goes!

  • Hen Jen March 7, 2010, 3:29 AM

    Chalk Inscriptions,

    so glad you came by! Let me know how you do with this too! take photos :)

  • armywife February 20, 2011, 8:33 PM

    Oh my goodness! This sounds so fun! We are for sure doing this soon! I remember growing crystals when I was in school. I loved it. We just took a trip to Carlsbad Caverns do you know of any science experiments to go along with that. We are now learning all about caverns. This trip really peaked my kids interest. And ideas would be wonderful! Love you blog by the way!

  • Hen Jen February 20, 2011, 9:27 PM

    army wife, so glad you liked this, yes, try it, it's a fun experiment! Carlsbad Caverns-what a great trip! I can't think of any experiments to do for that, but if you ask around on the well trained mind boards, someone might suggest something good. :)

  • tasneem ahmed January 2, 2012, 10:19 AM

    great job guys i should try this in my school!!!

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