This week in Kindergarten Science, student are growing their very own crystals! In nature, crystals are formed when magma slowly cools, or when water evaporates from a mixture. Crystals begin to grow when they become attached to a solid surface, and continue to form new layers and keep growing! The smallest part of crystal is called a unit cell, and the atoms within them form bonds in a special pattern, which create the different crystals we see. There are many different types of crystals that take on various colors and shapes, such as cubes, hexagons, and pyramids. The elements that are found within each crystal determine its shape and color.
Some elements were more familiar to students, like carbon. We can find carbon in our pencils, on our jewelry as diamonds, and even use it to conduct electricity!
"The children loved exploring how salt crystals are formed," said teacher Bessie Chekunov.
Did you know that a single grain of salt has about 5700 unit cells? When sodium and chlorine molecules bond, they form a unique crystal shape- a cube! We saw an example of this natural phenomenon on the beach of the Dead Sea in Israel!
Thanks to the generosity and creativity of one of our very own Kindergarten families, the wonderful Currie-Rose family, our Kindergarteners got the chance to grow their own crystals in our classrooms. Students began by talking about how scientists take notes.
"We will need to observe and write down how much crystal growing powder we used, how long we stirred the solution, how long the water cooled, what kind of environment our crystals will be growing in, and how long it takes them to grow," said Ms. Bessie.
Then, students will measure how much the crystals will grow each day, using our new measurement skills, and observe their shapes and colors. At the end of the experiment, the Kindergarteners will try to identify what kind of crystals we grew, and we will have beautiful crystals to keep in our classrooms!