The students of Upper Elementary used a Smithsonian Crystal Growing Kit to grow some really pretty crystals, and they learned some very interesting science along the way. Here, in their own words, is what they did and what they learned.
Amethyst Geode - Anya
The amethyst geode that I grew is part of the rhombohedral system even though the guide book said it would be hexagonal. During the process of growing somebody dropped a microscope slide in my solution. The crystals that grew on the slide were hexagonal but the ones that grew on the geode were rhombohedric. One theory is that they grew differently because the slide was smooth and the mold for the geode was rough. There were also orange particles in my solution. I think that is because before I put my solution in, the container had sourdough in it.
I used a chemical called aluminum potassium sulfate. After I mixed it, the solution was too dark to see into so I didn’t know what the crystal looked like until I took it out. When I did take it out, it was a much lighter color than I expected. Crystals also grew on the supporting rocks.
Emerald – Owen
When we made my crystal (Emerald) it had turned out kind of light green which was strange because the chemical we used (monoammonium phosphate) was so dark green that we couldn’t even observe the growing crystal. It looked cool when we took it out because it looked kind of like a castle. It also was also shaped kind of circular like the plastic cup we put it in.
Golden Citrine – Stephanie
The golden citrine crystal is a yellow color. It is a tetragonal shape. When I look at it in the microscope it has large bumps of yellow and it looks tetragonal. Right now, my crystal is growing in the water. My crystal is growing on the edge. I have one crystal done and it is on display. The chemical I used was monoammonium phosphate.
The frosty diamond is part of the cubic system. When I look in the microscope at my crystal, it looks like an abstract cube. My crystal was growing in water at the time of my observations and I think I saw water molecules. My frosty diamond has a very rough edge. I think that when my crystal is finished, it will be even rougher.
Rama Quartz – Amanda
Everyone says that my crystal looks like a palace. When I was making my crystal one girl in my class said, “I wannna be a little person living in there, but too bad it’s poisonous.” Now she says that she still wants to live in there as a little person and climb up my crystals like mountains. Well, I think that my crystal looks like an ice town with huge ice skyscrapers.
I used a chemical called monoammonium phosphate. My crystal making experience was an experiment. The crystal is has really grown tall. It is about an inch now and it is still growing on the piece of paper it is on.
I chose Topaz because I love how it comes in so many different colors. The most common Topaz is the yellow Topaz. The rarest is the pink Topaz. The yellow one is a yellowish gold color. A fact that I found on All About Colored Gems.com is the Topaz gem has been known for at least 2000 years. You usually find topazes in Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, China, Japan, Mexico, and Africa. In the USA, you can find them in Utah, Texas, Maine, and Colorado.
Pink Quartz is an orangish-pink color. It seems that every day it gets lighter and lighter. Right now, (15 of March) it is more of an orangish tan color. I like it a lot because of its color, shape, and I love all the crystals that come out of it. The crystals all go in different directions. It was very interesting to watch it grow.
Red Ruby Geode – Jessica
My crystal is called a red ruby geode. It didn’t really turn out to be a geode, but it did make cool hexagonal shapes-and was very red. The chemical I used for my geode was called, “aluminum potassium sulfate.”
I would describe my crystal as a very large crystal mass within the concave side of a rock– not very geode-like but it is pretty interesting. I like my crystal because it looks a lot like real ruby. The reason I chose this crystal is because I wanted to grow a geode.
The crystals are currently on display in the Upper El classroom, and it sounds as if there might be some on-going projects around them – we heard theorizing this morning about how to make them grow taller, to be continued, perhaps.