Freedom Rock: We Review the Thames and Kosmos Crystal Growing Kit

Provide students with the freedom to choose their own experiments!

Provide students with the freedom to choose their own experiments and design their own crystals with this science class classic.

Thames & Kosmos Crystal Growing Kit

Why it “rocks”:  We appreciate how this experiment-in-a-box is convenient for teachers but is not excessively formulaic. Students study the included manual, which describes 13 unique crystal combinations, then grow their crystal of choice, taking ownership of their experiments. Utilizing the kit’s provided chemicals, dyes and shape molds, the resulting crystals will be of various sizes, colors and formations.

Spectator sport: The growing time of the crystals varies from 24 hours to a week or more. The class can view the progress of their classmates’ crystals, and students can present to the group the unique crystallizations and geometries of the finished products.

3 Ideas to Try

1. Before opening the kit, discuss the crystallization process on an atomic scale. Once the students begin to see their crystals form, ask them to relate the macroscopic properties of their crystal to the microscopic properties of the clustered molecules within. Invite them to imagine the molecular structures of their crystal and draw it. Then have them consult Professor Google to see if their theories were correct.

2. Discuss with the class the diverse environments of mineral crystal formations in the natural world. From magma crystallizations within the Earth’s crust to salt crystal formations in the Dead Sea, challenge your students to research and identify as many rock crystal varieties as possible. (The finder of the most types could win a prize … rock candy, perhaps?)

3. Crystals are real-life polyhedra! Challenge your geometry-studying students to calculate the area of their crystals or to sketch it on grid paper.

Yield: Each kit contains 15 crystal experiments.

Find it: Amazon

What has been your best resource for teaching geology in the classroom? 

 

Jessica McFadden

Posted by Jessica McFadden

Jessica McFadden is a writer, blogger and parent living in the Washington, DC suburbs. A daughter of a teacher and a member of a family of teachers, she is happily at home interviewing teachers, principals and education specialists.

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