Lesson plan

Crystals and crystal structure

Grow crystals of borax/epsom salts/sugar, then activities that explain crystal struture.
Science content
Chemistry: Atoms, Molecules (3-7)
Chemistry: Physical Changes, Solutions, Mixtures and Separating (2, 4, 5, 6)
Chemistry: Crystals (7)
Earth/Space: Rock cycle, Earth Materials, Natural resources (5)

This lesson shows how crystals form.
Choose from growing borax crystals on a pipe cleaner, making an Epsom salt painting, growing sugar crystals to eat.

Use crystal stations to explore why crystal shapes are so regular:
Crystal shapes from building blocks (can be one or more stations)
Crystal shapes with magnifiers/microscope
Mirror symmetry patterns
Granite crystal study
Discuss how the regular arrangement of atoms in a crystal define its shape. Show diamond molecular model. See repeating arrangement of atoms. The atoms line up to form flat faces. The arrangement of atoms determines what the outside shape of the crystal is.

Real snowflake crystals growing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDPczGUovzE.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Gr 7