Day 1: Crystal Growing

After completing several tests to determine the exact ratio of borax to water, we were ready for members to try out the activity. 

First, members made ornaments with festive pipe cleaners. From tiny wreaths to indistinguishable Santa Clauses to giant candy canes, there was a large variety of future crystal decorations to behold. 

With three kettles at the ready, we began boiling water and measuring out the borax. By melting the borax in extremely hot water, we created a supersaturated solution. This type of solution is very unstable, thus once the water cooled down, the borax would recrystallize on the pipe cleaners and create a sparkly crystal ornament. 

After vigorous mixing and some trial and error, members were successful in making clear supersaturated solutions, which would ensure the formation of clear crystals. After danging their pipe cleaner ornaments in the borax solution, we left each jar to rest for four hours. Then, we took out the fully grown crystals and left them to dry.

Day 2: Finished Ornaments & Bunsen Burner S’mores

Two days later, members returned to collect their amazing decorations and celebrate the holidays with games, food, and Christmas music. With “Last Christmas” blaring from a Google Home speaker, members roasted marshmallows on Bunsen burners around the classroom, competed in games of mini-pool, and played numerous rounds of Codenames.

Filled with festive cheer, we ended our last meeting of 2021 and wished everyone a relaxing and snow-filled winter break.