Activity

Crystal shapes with magnifiers/microscope

Summary
Use magnifiers/microscope to look at common crystals close up to see their shapes.
Science content
Chemistry: Crystals (7)
Earth/Space: Rock cycle, Earth Materials, Natural resources (5)
Lessons activity is in
Materials
  • 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
    Procedure

    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
    Teaching site
    JEMZ+ After school science
    McBride Elementary
    Tyee Elementary