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Friday, April 11, 2014

Nesting Egg Geodes

For the past three years we have made egg geodes at school, and I love this project, especially how they came out this year.  We somehow always make them a little different each year, and I think this time we had the most success growing larger crystals on the eggs, but aside from the eggs, I really adore the nest the children made for the eggs.

Look at all those pretty colors!  Some of our eggs hanging out on in the art room.
I think one of the reasons the crystals came out larger is because we used less water and smaller containers.  These pint size canning jars worked great.

Here is the link for the recipe and the egg geodes we created last year and the year before.  The alum to water proportions are different this year.  We used a pint of boiling water, one egg dye tablet, and 1/8 cup of alum.  The rest of the directions on how to grow an egg geode are the same.  Here is the link:

Whenever we begin this project we look at geode slices and marvel at their beauty.
Many of the children visit these geodes regularly because we have spent a lot of time this year growing and exploring crystals.  

 I also placed the geodes out when we went to see how the egg geodes did.  It was nice watching them examine their own crystals with the same intensity.

Such pretty Alum Crystals

In Addition to the magnifying glasses, I also have these really neat prism lenses.  This one in particular split the viewing object up into five fragments.

Prior to the excitement of seeing their crystals, we had talked about how birds are busy building their nests so that they have a home for their eggs.  I expressed to the children that they are growing their crystals on an egg, so they need to be the mamas and daddies of those eggs and build their own nest.  
To do this they needed to go outside and gather the materials they felt would make a good nest. 

So out we went into the field that is next to the school.  This is a wonderful place for finding materials, as well as letting the children run.  

 One of the things I love about this field at this time of year is that you can see
 The Rip Van Winkle Bridge and the Hudson River from it.  Many of the children cross the bridge to come to school so it must be neat to see it so close from their school.  Bald Eagles nest under it, and I have seen an Eagle soaring above the school a couple times, but no such luck today.  However we did see several Robins and Sparrows, A Bluebird, and a Pileated Woodpecker.

I was told "These sunglasses make it so I can see bird nests." We did manage to see a nest high up in a tree, it must have been the sunglasses helping us.

When we got back into the classroom we had an assortment of items to use for our nests.
We started with a play-dough base and the rest was left up to the children, I was there to run around trying to find the items they requested to add to their nests.

It was a busy, messy time, and of course we all loved it, and the results were beautiful!

We had one little one who was not at school the day before to grow a geode, so she painted this lovely little egg for her nest.

I managed to get a couple pictures of some of the nests before they went home in the sweet fairy house the children have been working on.

Later that day during the Kindergarten class I began to drain out the colored water into a strainer to see if we could salvage some of the alum crystals at the bottom of the mason jars.
We managed to get quite a lot of crystals.  So, what to do with them?  They reminded me of a shell my great grandmother had made when she was young, she had taken several little shells she found on the beach and glued them into a large shell.  We had shells, so why not glue the crystals into some of these shells.  The children loved it.

Here they are adding glue to the shells and then adding their precious crystals.

It was a nice way to end the day and to save the little bits of crystals they were so proud of.