The momstown Hamilton little scientists were putting their scientific knowledge to use and creating some amazing Christmas decorations.
To start, we talked about what it means to dissolve something in water: a solid breaking down into tiny pieces that you cannot see but still exist.
To see how this works we added some salt to a glass of water. We could see the salt collecting at the bottom of the glass, but when stirred it disappeared!
We tried this again using sugar and the same thing happened. To test whether the sugar was still present in the water, but not visible, one of the preschoolers tasted the water. It tasted super sweet! The salt and sugar had dissolved in the water. We also conducted the experiment with pepper and found that it did not dissolve in water.
Once the kids had a very basic idea of what dissolving meant we used this new found knowledge to create a supersaturated solution using water and Borax (available in the laundry section of grocery store). We filled the jars up with boiling water and had moms add spoonfuls of Borax powder, stirring often. The kids were tasked with making sure that the powder was dissolving. Once the powder stopped dissolving then we knew the solution was supersaturated (approx. 3 Tbsp powder per cup water).
Using pipe-cleaners we created the shape that we wanted the decoration to be. Candy cane was the shape of choice this morning, but you could do snowflakes, hearts or anything else. The colour of the pipe-cleaner will show through or you could add food colouring to the water to make coloured crystals.
All that was left to do was suspend the pipe-cleaner in the water and wait for it to cool down. As the water cools the Borax crystals attach themselves to the pipe-cleaner, this takes about 6 hours. Lay it out to dry and then attach a ribbon as a finishing touch. As some of the moms discovered you can even get multiple uses out of the solution by reheating it and starting the process all over again.