Though the cold can be very brutal this time of year, a magical thing happens that captures the imagination of the children, crystal begin to grow outside!
From icicles and beautiful shinny snowflakes, to the patterns found in frozen water.
Last year we tried out a great water color recipe that "grows" crystals, and I thought it would be a wonderful thing to do again at this time of year. Here is one of the recorded conversations we had when talking about crystals.
Danielle: "What do you think makes crystals?"
F.F.: "Ice and a little bit of tree wax make crystals."
Danielle: "Are you thinking of an ice crystal or a crystal you can hold in your hand?"
F.F: "I am thinking of a wood crystal made out of wood and water that feels wet. I take it and polish it to make you feel better. Yeah, you can hold it when you are sick."
RH: " I have a real crystal rock."
Danielle: "How do you think that crystal was made?"
RH: "Um, with crystals."
FF: "It can grow like a special plant."
CF: "They grow in caves!"
Danielle: "How do you think they grow in there?"
CF: "They grow down and up."
Danielle: "What makes them grow down and up?"
CF: "The sparkles!"
FF: "Maybe there is magic on them."
CF: "I think there is a door in the cave, and a lever, a crystal lever and you pull it down and they come out."
Danielle: "So is there a person in the cave making the crystals?"
ZY: " My daddy has an alarm to open the door."
Danielle: "Hmm, and what do you think about crystals ZY?"
ZY: "Well, mine look like this and that, and the crystal is made out of wood and put in orange polish and then the bears eat it,because the polar bears come and eat it, and they want to go back inside but they don't know how to go inside the door because it is frozen, so they eat it all."
Danielle: "So when you think of crystals you also think of ice?"
ZY: "Yeah and the bears eat it."
Danielle: "Hmm, you all are giving me a lot to think about."
Danielle: "Has anyone ever seen crystals in the ice?"
LP:"I've seen it, they kinda look like salt. It's just frozen bubbles."
R.G.H: "Mommy has a crystal on her shelf. They're shinny and they are made out of ice."
E.Bee.N: "Yeah, like Elsa's."
R.G.H: "They are made out of glass too."
Danielle: "It's interesting that LP said they are like salt because we are going to make a paint using salt and we will see if it makes crystals on your paper. Do you believe me?"
All the kids "No!" and then a couple yeses after.
We then set to work.
The children had a container of table salt and Epson salts. They took a large teaspoon of Epson and a small spoon full of table salt and mix it together in a paint tray.
After they set up their salt in their trays, they add 2 table spoons of water which they measure out with the pipettes. Once they stirred and dissolved the salts, they added liquid water colors to their trays and began painting.
Some children continued to be interested in what makes crystals grow, so they set up a little test to see if the water would freeze outside to make crystals. We set up two variables, one with salt because that is how they created the crystals on their paintings, the other was just colored water.
(A conversation happening as they create their experiment)
CJ: "I think the color helps make the crystals."
RH: "I wonder what colors freezes faster."
We set them out side to freeze.
When we took them inside later, a group of boys began to examine them, discovering that the salt water was "still wet!"
We then began to look at geodes and crystals that we have in the classroom, as well as look at the paintings created by their classmates the day before.
NF:"I think when the crystals are in the water they pile up on each other and make bigger crystals."