Joyful Liberation

Joyful Liberation

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cooking and Science (snowflakes part one)

Today Willow's music class was supposed to start but the teacher called and was snowed in :) So, Willow and I were thinking of things we could do. Aspen was still asleep and Josh and Mara were off at sleepovers. Willow wanted to cook so we made a big pot of turkey chili and a pot of potato leek soup. YUM! I cannot wait for it to be done. Then, I remembered these snowflake crystals that I had made a couple of years ago with my older ones and so we pulled out the pipe cleaners and borax and got to work.
It is so amazing to me how she sees the the world. I love our conversations that we have while engaged in projects like this. As we were cutting the pipe cleaners to form the snowflakes Willow realized that it made the letter A. That led to figuring out what other letters they could make and then to spelling out words. She has really been into the PBS show Word World lately and can point out simple 2 and 3 letter words from books. This is amazing to me seeing that Aspen was 8, Josh was 13, and Mara was 9 before they even thought of reading! We had a lot of fun and cannot wait until tomorrow to unveil the crystals! Here is the science behind them:

The Science Behind the Fun:

Borax is an example of crystal - "a solid with flat sides and a symmetrical shape because its molecules are arranged in a unique, repeating pattern."
Every crystal has a repeating pattern based on it's unique shape. They may be big or little, but they all have the same "shape". Salt, sugar, and Epsom salts are all examples of crystals. Salt crystals are always cube-shaped while snow crystals form a six-sided structure.
How do the Borax crystals grow?
Hot water holds more borax crystals than cold water. That's because heated water molecules move farther apart, making room for more of the borax crystals to dissolve. When no more of the solution can be dissolved, you have reached saturation. As this solution cools, the water molecules move closer together again. Now there's less room for the solution to hold onto as much of the dissolved borax. Crystals begin to form and build on one another as the water lets go of the excess and evaporates.
This also applies to snowflakes - As water cools the molecules move closer together. Since all water molecules are shaped the same (H2O) they align in a six sided crystal.

Here are the directions if you are interested.....
Borax Crystal Snowflake
Grow a snowflake in a jar!You will need:
wide mouth pint jar
white pipe cleaners
blue food coloring (optional)
boiling water (with adult help)
borax (available at grocery stores in the laundry soap section, as 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster - NOT Boraxo soap)
pencil Directions:
With a little kitchen science you can create long lasting snowflakes as sparkly as the real ones. Cut a white pipe cleaner into 3 equal sections. Twist the sections together in the center so that you have a "six-sided" star shape.
Pipe cleaners and string form a snowflake base for the crystals to grow on.If your points are not even, trim the pipe-cleaner sections to the same length. Now attach string along the outer edges to form a snowflake pattern. Attach a piece of string to the top of one of the pipe cleaners and tie the other end to a pencil (this is to hang it from). Fill a widemouth jar with boiling water. Mix borax into the water one tablespoon at a time. Use 3 tablespoons of borax per cup of water. Stir until dissolved, (don't worry if there is powder settling on the bottom of the jar). If you want you can add a little blue food coloring now to give the snowflake a bluish hue. Insert your pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar so that the pencil is resting on the lip of the jar and the snowflake is freely suspended in the borax solution. Wait overnight and by morning the snowflake will be covered with shiny crystals. Hang in a window as a sun-catcher or use as a winter time decoration.

This one was a rainbow first, the a mountain :)

2 "L"'s she said!......

I just had to take a picture of this while I was cooking. Willow called out the other day and said, "uh oh, someone drew on the dishwasher!" I said, oh, what did they draw? she said, "looks like a person". I just smiled. It reminds me so much of when Mara was little and would engrave everything with her name and say she couldn't imagine who would do that :)

And, our sleeping babies, joining us in the craft.....

The turkey chili for dinner.....

Potato leek soup for lunch. So good!!

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About Me

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I am a mom to 5 amazing kids and married to my best friend and love of my life. We co-habitate with 1 cat, Asha, 2 dogs, Maggie May and Juniper Wren, a Chinchilla names Ozwald, and a Hamster named Fat Panda. We have lived in Salt Lake City for 13 years by way of Tennessee and Oregon. I love to be with my kids, knit, run, craft, sew, paint,travel, hike and play :) I love our crazy life!