Science experiments are always fun. This week we pulled out an oldie, but goodie; creating crystals from borax. I have done this with my older two in years past by making snowflakes. This time we made it with my youngest and tried the Luck of the Irish by making shamrocks & adding a wee bit of green to see what happened.
It has been a lot of fun watching it grow, in fact it grew quickly. Wait until you see our results/findings are & then you can match them to yours if you decided to do this at home. But, before you start have your child make predictions of what they think will happen, record them & compare them to what actually takes place.
- wide mouth jar
- green pipe cleaners
- borax soap
- boiling water
- green food coloring (optional)
Crystal Science Project:
- The first step of making borax crystal shamrocks is to make the shamrock shape, which can be done by cutting two pipe cleaners into three equal sections.
- Bend the pipe cleaners in petal-like shapes, using the extra pipe cleaners wrap around the center of
all four petals to create a shamrock shape. The shamrock should be sized to fit inside the jar you are using.
- Tie the string to the end of the shamrock stem. Tie the other end of the string to the pencil. You want the length to be such that the pencil hangs the shamrock into the jar, but doesn’t touch the bottom. Set the shamrock aside until you have created the solution.
- Fill the jar you are using with boiling water.
- Add borax one tablespoon at a time to the boiling water, stirring to dissolve after each addition. The amount we used was approximately 4 tablespoons of borax per cup of water, although I have read 3. We added until the water would dissolve any additional borax & did end up with some on the bottom of the jar, which is okay, but don’t let the shamrock touch it.
- We then tinted the liquid mixture with green food coloring for further observations.
- Hang the pipe cleaner shamrock into the jar so that the pencil rests on top of the jar and the shamrock is completely covered with liquid and hangs freely (not touching the bottom of the jar).
- Allow the jar to sit in an undisturbed location overnight.
- Look, observe & record like a scientist! Note: Borax can typically be found in the laundry section of your stores. It is not edible & adult supervision is required (my daughter said it looked like rock candy so of course we want the kids to know this isn’t rock candy!) What observations did we make?
- The green food coloring did not absorb into the borax crystals, it was only in the water, which was a fun discovery and not what we expected.
- Our jar was not wide enough at the top, the crystal grew so much in 48 hours that we couldn’t get it out. We have decided to let it grow for a week to see what happens.
- Crystals began to form within an hour.