We wanted to add a bit of science to our MakerSpace activity this week, so we got kids to grow their own crystals. I got the idea and used the recipe from this web site. Using pipe cleaners, students created their name or a simple image – stars, flowers, hearts and butterflies were popular. We then created a solution of water and borax – cheap and readily available from hardware stores and some supermarkets. I didn’t bother dying the solution as the recipe suggests – a) I didn’t have enough containers and b) the colour of the pipe cleaners came through the clear crystals. The students then tied some fishing line to their pipe cleaner and attached the other end to a skewer. There was a bit of trial and error getting the line the right length so that the whole design was in the solution but wasn’t touching the bottom of the container.
Then came the hard part – waiting for the crystals to form overnight. In the morning we lifted the skewers out of the solution and allowed the now crystal-covered pipe cleaners to dry. They were difficult to photograph well but look quite effective, particularly when held up to the light.