Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sugar Cystals

Not that any of us needed any more sugar these days, but after several weeks (months?) these sugar crystal lollys that the boys have been making were ready to taste. This was part of one of those impromptu science lessons that seemed to come up out of nowhere. I think it actually started with a close look at the table salt, followed by an exploration of some snow flakes, then a peek at the pepper shaker (nope - not a crystal!) and then, delight of delights, the sugar. When the kids learned that not only was sugar already a crystal, but that we could make it into even bigger crystals, well, the 'scientist' in them just took over.

Our crystals took a very long time to grow, but here is the basic recipe in case you want to try:

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Pour into a class jar, and very slowly stir in 3 cups of sugar one teaspoon at a time. Don't rush this step or it will slow the process down in the long run. Keep adding the sugar until it no longer dissolves and gathers at the bottom of the jar. You can add a few drops of food coloring at this point if you like. The put a bamboo sticks into he jar, and wait...and wait....and wait.

Just when you are about to toss the whole thing, you will see crystals forming on the stick. Keep it growing until it reaches a yummy size, and then enjoy!

2 Important Notes:Firstly, if you have a microscope, or even magnifying glass, make sure to take a good look at the crystals before they are eaten. They are absolutely beautiful!

Secondly, if you have more than one child, make sure to make a crystal lolly for each of them, in separate jars. Trying to make more than one in each jar may end up with all stuck together, and not so easy to share.

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