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Growing Crystals in Gels Laboratory Kits

By: Tanya Phillips, Piedmont H.S., Piedmont, CA

The Growing Crystals in Gels Introductory Chemistry Laboratory Kit makes an excellent year-long classroom display! Growing crystals in gels is a fascinating way to show chemical reactions over time.

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Growing crystals in gels is a fascinating way to show chemical reactions over time. By mixing a few solutions together a gel is made that contains an evenly distributed ion. Another ionic solution or a piece of metal is placed at the top of the gel. As the ionic solution slowly diffuses through the gel, a new substance is formed. The two clear chemical solutions react and, before your eyes, beautiful crystals appear. Crystals will begin forming within a few hours and will continue growing for weeks to come. This lab makes an excellent yearlong classroom display. Test tubes, stoppers and all necessary chemicals are provided.

Complete for 30 students working in pairs. The Introductory Kit allows you to prepare three different gels, and the Advanced Kit allows you to prepare six different gels.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Engaging in argument from evidence
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
MS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions

Crosscutting Concepts

Energy and matter
Systems and system models
Cause and effect

Performance Expectations

MS-PS1-1. Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
MS-PS1-2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
HS-PS1-1. Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.
HS-PS1-2. Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.