How to Make
Teachers of students in a middle school
Parents interested in unique family
activities for home
Place a check in each category for the point
amount the learner should receive. 5 is the 7 - 9 pts. C
best effort possible and 0 is the least effort
possible. The grading scale and rubric should 4 - 6 pts. D
be shared with the learners before they begin. 0 - 3 pts. F
Topics 5 4 3 2 1 0
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Crystals samples of crystals
Crystals are special rocks with different shapes and designs.
Certain types of crystals, like Amethyst, are not only beautiful but are
believed by some to have healing powers.
There are hundreds of types of crystals in the world and all have a
radiant beauty specific to the type.
The information button in the upper right hand corner of this slide will
lead you to a web page with some examples of crystals.
Pipe Cleaners of various colors.
Borax Laundry Additive
Heating element or stove
Large coffee cans or pots to boil water
Small can or beaker to suspend ornaments in
Straws or pencils to suspend the ornaments
String to tie the ornaments to the straws
SAFETY FIRST ALWAYS!
Do not allow children to handle the boiling water.
Do not allow children to accidentally consume
the detergent additive.
The adult or facilitator should handle the transfer
of the boiling water and oversee the use of the
If small children are involved the adult should
handle all of the above.
Step One: Twist one to three pipe
cleaners into a shape to make your
Many shapes can be made. A popular one is to take a
red and a white pipe cleaner and twist them into a candy
cane. ( This is usually a good one to start with.)
However, any shape can be made as long as it will fit into
the small can you are using without touching the sides or
the bottom. This will be explained in more detail in a later
Step 2: Take a piece of string and
attach it to the ornament at the top
and to the straw or pencil in the
A small 8oz. can with the
top only cut off or a
beaker is what the
ornament will be
After testing to see if the
ornament will hang in the
can or beaker without
touching the bottom or
the sides we can boil our
water and add our Borax.
Step 3: Boil water in a pot or large
coffee can on a stove or a portable
heating element. This will depend
on your surroundings.
Step 4: After the water is ready
carefully fill the can with boiling
water leaving about ½ inch
remaining at the top.
Add Borax by using a spoonful at a time and stir until the Borax just begins to
settle on the bottom without dissolving and the water is cloudy. This is when
there is enough Borax in the can to form crystals.
Step 5: Now, hang your ornament
in the beaker or can and let it settle
so that it is not touching the bottom
or the sides of the container. Make
sure the top of the ornament is
under the water/Borax solution.
The finished Product
Allow your ornament to cool. As it cools the extra detergent additive will cling
to the pipe cleaner forming beautiful crystals. Depending upon how fast it cools
will determine what size crystals. You see if you can figure out how to make
them smaller or larger. Try not to move the crystal ornament until it is cool.
Usually a few hours or if you want to be sure just let it cool overnight.
This activity can be done at home as a family when decorating the Christmas tree
and a bunch of ornaments can be made. Color coordinating them can be fun for
parents and kids.
This activity fits in with chemical bonding in basic chemistry and teaches safety
in science experiments as well as allowing families to do something fun and
Using a microscope to look at the structure of the crystals and comparing the
different ones formed in the group is a great idea. All of them will be unique yet in
some ways similar.
Don’t use too much Borax. It will just form a solid mass at
the bottom of the container.
Add food coloring if you want a different look. Blue is nice
Try one first to get the idea before doing a group of
ornaments or expecting a class of students to have no
problems with it.
Don’t use Borax detergent it must be the additive and can
be found at most local grocery stores.
Make sure it does not touch the sides or bottom. If it does
you will have a very hard time getting the ornament out of
the container. Even if you get it out, you will probably ruin