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Science Fair Crystals

Updated on November 13, 2011

Crystal Science Fair Projects

There are several ways you can use crystals for science fair projects. Young scientists may want to make models of types of crystals or grow a crystal from a kit. More advanced researchers can experiment with the effects of changing the growing conditions of crystals. Another option is to work out a procedure for growing a perfect crystal.

Examples of Crystal Science Projects

Here's a look at some options for science fair crystals, listed from beginner to more advanced. Science projects at the middle school level onwards should apply the scientific method.

Collections
Find examples of common crystals. These could include quartz, salt, sugar, and snowflakes. What other common materials are made from crystals? Did you know that the cut 'crystal' used for some glasses isn't really made from crystal at all?

Models
Crystals can be categorized according to their properties. You could make models of the crystal lattices and find examples of each crystal type. Models can be constructed from toothpicks and clay or from paper. Be creative!

Growing Crystals from Kits
If you are new to crystals, you might want to see if you can grow a crystal from a kit. Once you get the hang of it, play with the factors that could influence crystal growth. What happens if you use water that is a different temperature? What happens to crystals you try to grow in the refrigerator compared with crystals you grow on the counter?

Growing Crystals Yourself
Growing crystals yourself can be as straightforward as growing crystals from a kit or it can involve answering many questions and solving many problems.

Prevent Crystal Growth
Sometimes crystals are undesirable. Not many people like to be stabbed by ice while eating ice cream. Can you think of ways to prevent crystals from forming in frozen foods? Where else are crystals a problem?

Crystal Recipes to Try

Here are some other recipes for growing crystals that you can use for a science fair project. These recipes use safe ingredients.

Examples of Giant Alum Crystals

Alum crystals are great for science projects because the ingredients are non-toxic, the crystals are easy to grow, and you can grow huge perfect crystals. Experiment with the effect of temperature on crystal growth or control the cooling rate of your solution and see what happens.

Points to Remember

Growing crystals or even finding them can be as much an art as a science. Here are some points to keep in mind when doing a science project that involves crystals.

  • Crystals take time to grow!
    Plan ahead if you are growing a crystal that takes days or weeks to reach the size you want. If you are pressed for time, use a recipe for quick crystals.

  • Allow Time for Mistakes
    If you are growing crystals, keep in mind you might need to develop some crystal-growing skill before they turn out the way you want. Allow enough time in your project to repeat steps in case of mistakes or accidents. Science can be messy.

  • Consider the safety of the ingredients.
    You can grow crystals using ingredients safe enough to eat, like sugar, salt, or alum. If you choose a project that uses a non-edible chemical, be sure the project is permitted. Some science fairs and schools have strict policies about the types of materials you can use. This especially applies if you want to show off your finished crystals.

Growing a Crystal Tree

You can get crystal trees as kits or you can make your own. The tree is made by cutting two tree shapes from cardboard. Cut a slit in the bottom of one piece and the top of the other piece. Hold the two tree pieces upright and 90° from each other. Slide one tree onto the other to make the shape. You can decorate the tree with food coloring 'ornaments' if you like. Set the tree in a dish containing a solution made from equal parts boiling water, salt, vinegar, and laundry bluing. If you can't get the bluing, you can grow crystals using just water, salt, and vinegar. You should start to see crystals forming within a day. It may take a couple of days to get full growth.

Remember

A demonstration, model, or kit is fine for beginning projects, but you need to answer a question or test a hypothesis for a really 'scientific' project.

Watch Crystal Growth

Science Fair Project Help

What Do You Think About Crystals?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      i didn't understand this

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      i need to find a book about sugar chrystals and the ingredients to make it

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      this helped me soooo much!!!!!!! me and my friend are using this as our science project for school. i can't wait to do it!!!!!<33

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      i need help.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Can you tell me why alum grows bigger crystals quicker than salt or sugar? I mean what about alum makes that possible?

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I need to Know WHERE Crystal trees are sold

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      this is kinda of confusing but not at the same time, I get it but I need more info.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      review the videos til you get it

      [in reply to Brandon]

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      i don't no how long dis project is goin 2 take but ima try 2 stretch dis project out 4 science fair

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      [in reply to alissa] really how did it work out im doin it 4 mine 2

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      projectobserve 7 years ago

      Very cool and fantastic lens. Useful supplied information. Thinks for sharing.

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 6 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      This is such a fantastic lens. I think we'll even be doing some of these experiments over the summer for fun! I've featured it on my back-to-school planning lens at https://hubpages.com/education/back-to-school-plan as it can get so difficult to find good resources for science fair projects and I like to plan for these at the start of a school year. Thanks for a wonderful lens and also newsletter (I'm a subscriber!).

    • joanv334 profile image

      joanv334 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing!

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 6 years ago

      Another wonderful science lens! Blessed by your Science neighborhood Squid Angel.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      Looks like I just put you at your 100% completion with a 20th like. Can't remember which of your lenses we used for the science fair project. Thanks

    • SilmarwenLinwelin profile image

      SilmarwenLinwelin 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      thankz these are the best i have seen today

    • profile image

      writywrite 5 years ago

      beautiful lens

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      cleansweeping 4 years ago

      Need to remember this lens the next time we study crystals in class. I am not good at growing crystals.

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