Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY - Snow Day Snow Flake Science Project

DIY - Snow Day Snow Flake Science Project

You will need:
A Large, Wide Mouth Jar
20 Mule Team Borax (sold in the laundry section of the grocery store. Not Boraxo)
Pipe Cleaners
Boiling Water
Food Coloring (optional)
Parental Supervision

Step 1:

Fill your jar with boiling water.  Add your Borax one tablespoon at a time using about 3 tablespoons of Borax per cup of water.  If you want to add food coloring, go for it, but you will need quite a lot to color your final product.

Step 2:

Cut your pipe cleaners into thirds, making 3 equal pieces.  Then twist them together at the center.  Wrap string around the pipe cleaners spiderweb style starting toward the center then moving outward. Tie A string to one end of a pipe cleaner and attach it to your pencil.  

Step 3:

Push your snowflake into the jar, leaving your pencil across the top to suspend the snowflake without letting it rest on the bottom.


Step 4:

Wait Patiently. Your crystals will form overnight and should be complete by morning.

Crystals will form all along the pipe cleaners and string.

Step 5:

Hang your snowflake in a window to make a fun sun catcher.

Science 1:

Solvent: The liquid in which solvent is dissolved to produce a solution.
Solute: The minor portion of a solution, dissolved within the solvent.

When you dissolve a solid into a liquid you either get a solution or a suspension. A suspension tends to be cloudy and the particles will settle out.  If the solute dissolves in the solvent, you should get a clear solution. 


Question: Which of our ingredients is the solvent?  Which ingredient is the solute?
Answer: Our liquid, water, is the Solvent. Our solid, Borax, is the Solute.

Question: Did we create a solution or a suspension?
Answer: A solution.

Science 2:

Supersaturate: To cause a chemical solution to be more highly concentrated than is normally possible under given conditions of temperature and pressure.  Heating the water allows it to break the bonds in the borax molecules more easily, quickly dissolving it into the solution.  So adding the solute (borax) in our solvent (water) while it is very hot will let us put more borax in the water than if it started cold.  As the water cools, the solution becomes supersaturated, unable to hold a much solute.  

Precipitation: The formation of a solid in a solution.  Precipitation may occur rapidly as a supersaturated solution cools and the solute  becomes solid again.  

Precipitate: The solid that forms in the solution.


Question: Why do we boil the water first?
Answer: So the solution can hold more solute.  

Question: Why do the crystals form on the pipe cleaners?
Answer: As the solution cools, it cannot hold as much solute and precipitation occurs.  The precipitate forms and attaches to the pipe cleaners.  

Science 3:

Let's try an experiment!
Try this project again, but instead of boiling the water before adding the borax, try it with cold water or room temperature water.  

Remember the Experimental Method:

1.)Make Observations: Look at the world around you, what happened with the hot water and what you know about saturation, supersaturation and precipitation.  Use concepts that can be observed or measured.  "Better" is subjective.  ".25cm larger" is objective. Use observations that can be measured so other scientists can repeat your results!

2.)Form A Hypothesis: Based on what you have already learned, what do you think will happen if you use cold water?

3.)Make A Prediction: Analyze your hypothesis and decide whether it will be correct based on what you already know.

4.)Perform an Experiment: Follow all of the same steps, using measures and steps that are able to be repeated.  Be sure to allow the crystals in the cold water to have exactly the same amount of time to form as those in the hot water.

5.)Analyze the Results: Measure your crystals, count them, look at the precipitate on the bottom of the jar.

6.)Draw A Conclusion: What happened? Was your hypothesis correct?

Report Your Results:

Science it up:

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