Chemical Bonds Lab: Growing Ionic Crystals! Solutions, Solubility, Saturation

Grade Levels
7th - 11th
Resource Type
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7 pages
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Chemical Bonds Lab: Growing Ionic Crystals!  Solutions, Solubility, Saturation

This is a lab designed for 7-9th grades where students pick either halite, epsomite, or alum to grow crystals with.  The student handout is comprehensive and thorough.  Every year I do this lab the kids have a blast.  

It is designed for the teacher to do the heating for super saturation.  I personally use a large griddle of my own to heat several beakers at a time.  If you have hot plates available, students can heat their own beakers in groups since none of the temperatures achieved in this lab are extremely high.  If you do use hot plates, I highly recommend grouping students by which mineral they used to minimize the possibility of cross-contamination that could inhibit crystal growth!

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⭐⭐⭐⭐ "Can't wait to try this out! Thanks for including the photos as well"  
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Materials Required & Teacher Notes

Approximate total cost to teacher/school serving about 100 students: $20-25

Materials:  large griddle or several hot plates, several 150-250 mL beakers for heating solutions, glass stir rods or equivalent, deionized/distilled water, clear plastic disposable punch cups (1 per student minimum) and patience.  

Optional materials include fishing line if students want to use an alum seed crystal suspended from above their solution.  Please note that I have not had luck with seed crystals using epsomite or halite.    

When using this lab in my own classroom, I provide halite and epsomite for the students and allow anyone who wishes to provide their own containers of alum.  

Halite is the hardest to get crystals to grow from, but I have the best luck with salt that is not iodized.  Given it is so cheap, you could allow students to try more than once.

Epsomite is perhaps the easiest to get crystals to grow from.  I purhcase large quantities of epsom salt for this lab since it is remarkably soluble in water.  Students will need to dissolve lots of epsom salt in order to saturate their water.  

Alum can be found in the herbs and spices section of most grocery stores.  Do NOT allow students to waste their money on powdered alum.  Crystals will not grow from it, and they will be very disappointed.  They want regular alum, which sounds like sugar or salt when you shake the container.     

I am passionate about this lab.  If you need help or advice, click Ask a Question on this product page (fastest response) or if you have time to wait, email me at   I will be glad to help you out!

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Total Pages
7 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 days
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