You are here


Crystal shapes with magnifiers/microscope

Use magnifiers/microscope to look at common crystals close up to see their shapes.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Chemistry: Crystals (7)
Earth/Space: Rock cycle, Earth Materials, Natural resources (5)
Lessons activity is in: 
  • sugar crystals (grow your own by dissolving 3 cups of sugar in 1 cup hot water, then leaving for a few days)
  • salt crystals
  • optional: epsom salt crystals (from the pharmacy, or grow your own)
  • optional: other found/purchased crystals where the shape can be seen e.g. amethyst
  • magnifiers ideally 10X
  • stereo microscope

    Look at real crystals and match their shapes with drawings.

    Salt crystals are cubes. The are best seen under a microscope at 20X or 40X.
    Sugar and epsom salt crystals are monoclinic prisms. Large sugar crystals can be seen with the naked eye. Epsom salts form the pharmacy are best with a magnifier or microscope to see the elongated shape with a pointed end.
    Amethyst (a kind of quartz) crystals are hexagonal pyramids. They are large enough to see with the naked eye.

    The atoms in each of the crystals link in a certain pattern, so making a certain shape crystal.

    Attached documents: 
    Grades taught: 
    Gr K
    Gr 1
    Gr 3
    Gr 4
    Gr 5
    Gr 6
    Gr 7
    Alane Lublow
    Christy Wong
    Heather Wallace
    Kecia Boecking
    Nellie Wong
    Scott Malin
    Teaching site: 
    JEMZ+ After school science
    McBride Elementary
    Tyee Elementary
    Activity originally developed and delivered: 

    Scientist in Residence Program, Vancouver School District with teachers Ms. Wong and Ms. Boecking.
    This activity was part of the lesson plan: