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Exploring Crystals … Looking Deeply.

Posted by on November 19, 2016

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

~Ellen Parr

The Lost Crystal Caves ... WORTH the time to watch!

The Lost Crystal Caves … WORTH the time to watch!

It’s hard to believe that it is mid November … and … we are STILL rock crazy! We’ve learned SO much about the layers of the earth … and zoomed in even closer to learn more about the rocks that make up the crust beneath our feet. We’ve even learned about what dirt is made of … and SAND! Each and EVERY day at least ONE person walks into class with a special rock just BEGGING to share its brilliance with everyone else!

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An AMAZING crystal made at home!

Our latest focus has been on crystals. We’ve learned about the tiny crystals we are spotting in our rocks, the crystals we’ve purchased at Gem and Mineral events and the AMAZING crystals you can find in the Lost Crystal Caves in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico! They are BREATH taking and SO big that they DWARF an ADULT standing beside them!

ANOTHER crystal from home. We just can't get ENOUGH of rocks and crystals!

ANOTHER crystal from home. We just can’t get ENOUGH of rocks and crystals!

While we watched an amazing National Geographic video all about the Lost Crystal Caves, we learned how to sketchnote! Sketchnoting is a creative way of capturing the interesting information we don’t want to forget while we research or listen. Mrs. Renton even shared how she uses sketchnoting in HER learning!

I do, we do, you do.

I do, we do, you do.

We also discovered that there are TONS of interesting ways to create your OWN crystals … some of them YUMMY … some of them just SO beautiful! We experimented with borax crystals. Some of us chose to make geodes and some decided to make snowflakes. We hope you enjoy this post with all its highlights and photos!

Wow! We have some TALENTED sketchnote artists!

Wow! We have some TALENTED sketchnote artists!

First … the process of making our borax solution:

We needed borax, boiling water, clean jars, egg shells that were seeded with borax, spoons and food colouring if we were making geodes. We needed pipe cleaners for snowflakes.

We needed borax, boiling water, clean jars, egg shells that were seeded with borax, spoons and food colouring if we were making geodes. We needed pipe cleaners for snowflakes.

“The geodes are so, so cool! The geodes are shockingly cool! I wish my geode wasn’t broken. I was so excited about the big reveal!” ~Alex

“Two things I really loved about learning about crystals are that I loved making our magnificent geodes! They turned out spectacularly and were chalked full of borax crystals! Another star was sketchnoting about the absolutely gorgeous Lost Crystal Caves. I did just about four whole pages of interesting things in my sketch book. I wish we could do it every year and all year! An awesome memory is watching the Lost Crystal Caves video. I wonder how long people have been making borax geodes?” ~Payton

“My two stars were making the geodes. It was fun. And my second one was seeing how spectacular all the crystals looked! They were awesome. I wish we could make geodes every year!” ~Alinah

“I made a geode that’s fake. I love it. This is how you make them. One jar. One cup of borax. Stir until clear. Add food colouring. Stir a few seconds. Add an egg. I forgot about adding hot water.” ~Will

“My star is that we got to make borax crystals because they are beautiful and shiny! I wish that we got to do TWO! My memory is that I made a snowflake crystal. I wish that we could make more. I loved making the crystals. The crystals were so fun! I was really excited for the big reveal!” ~Brooklyn

“I loved that we even got to make the geodes and snowflakes. I wish that we could make both of the things. I will never forget my geode. I wonder how the geode broke in the jar? I loved the beautiful geodes and snowflakes.” ~Emily

“I loved making the geodes because they have so much glamour!!! I loved stirring the boiling hot water because it was cool how the water started foggy and changed to see through! I wonder how did the borax and hot water and food dye make a geode? I wish I could have everyone’s geodes. I will never forget making geodes!” ~Eric

“My first star is making my snowflake. My second is how awesome it turned out. I wish there was more crystals on my snowflake. A memory I’ll never forget is when it turned out so realistic. I wonder how borax can make crystals?” ~Evelyn S

“I wish the geodes were real. I loved making the geodes and snowflakes. I really liked seeing the fake geodes and snowflakes because they were beautiful and shiny. I will remember how to make geodes again. I wonder if we can make geodes again?” ~Beyazit

“One of my favourite things was making the borax geode because it was fun. Another of my favourite things was sketching our geodes because we got to look deeply at our geodes. I wish the crystal cave video was more exciting. I will remember we made borax crystals.” ~Reid

“My geode is lovely. I’m amazed my geode turned out well even though I broke mine. I wish I would be more soft with my fake geode so it didn’t break. I remember that we put borax and food colouring in. I wonder if I can fix my geode.” ~Zari

“I loved how people’s crystals turned out gorgeous. It was great how people LOVED their geode crystals. I wish no geodes or snowflakes broke. I will never forget my geode. I wonder if I can make my geode have more crystals.” ~Colby

“My favourite part about the crystal stuff is making geodes because I liked all the pretty colours and the geodes turned out great! I also loved studying the Crystal Caves. I wish that we could have done more things with crystals. A memory that I will never forget is watching how cool the Crystal Caves were because I thought it was awesome that they wear HEAVY protective gear because it looked so cool!” ~Vivian

“My memory is my geode and making it is a really great memory! A wish is that my blue geode, (crystal), did not turn so black!!! My wonder is that how does it form crystals and how our teacher got egg shells. My two favourite parts are that they had lots of crystals and they were gorgeous, but they were fake. Here are the steps. They are as simple and easy as get a cup full of borax and boiling water and a spoon to stir it so it is clear. The next day it is a geode! Awesome!” ~Maya

“I love when I saw my snowflake has so many crystals. I loved when I stirred my snowflake because I liked the sound of the spoons hitting the jar. It was like music. I also remember that three geodes broke. It was very sad. I wonder why did the geodes not have a lot of crystals?” ~Arash

“I loved when we got to make a borax crystal. How I made it was with very hot water, some egg shells, a spoonful of borax and some food colouring. We only had to wait for five days. I wish that we could bring them home and have them rolled with sand. I will never forget how to make borax crystals so I can have a lot of crystals in my room. It will be so pretty!” ~Katherine

“We made borax crystals that were not crystals at first. They were pipe cleaners with borax in it and it became crystals. I love crystals. It was very fun.” ~Nic

“I liked how my crystal turned out. It was so awesome and another time I liked was when we got to have a deeper look at the crystals because the crystals looked so red. I really wish my crystal was filled with crystals and I want it to be way bigger. I will remember everything. I wonder if they are growing right now.” ~Tareq

“I like making borax crystals. I enjoyed watching the Crystal Caves movie. I wish I could have made a snowflake. I remember the Lost Crystal Caves movie. I wonder when we can watch the Lost Crystals.” ~Rowen

“I loved that we could pick to do a geode or a snowflake. I also loved how they turned out. I wish mine was bigger though. I will never forget how excited I was when they were growing. I wonder if it dries out if you can put it back in the boiling water for it to get crystals again?” ~Connie

“When we made geodes I was really excited. I wish I could make a yellow geode. I wonder what a green geode looks like? I really liked watching the Crystal Caves.” ~Evelyn L

‘I love how sparkly and shiny my geode was!!! I like tat it looked like a little Crystal Cave! I wish they would stay sparkly forever. And, I wish they were not so broken. I loved pulling the geode out of the jar because it was shocking how shiny they were!!! I wonder hoe the borax crystals get so shiny!” ~Colter

“My favourite part was that I got to make a geode from an egg shell and searching how it really looks. I wish that I could make another one! Something I would never forget is that I got to make a fake geode! I wonder how many crystals can grow on it!” ~Sky

“My class made geodes and snowflakes. I made a geode. They turned out spectacular, beautiful and glittery. I love that mine is unique because it goes light, dark, light, and a little bit of glue. I also like that it is so shiny. I wish that they had more crystals. I will never forget how to make it: glass jar, pour hot water in the glass jar, add borax and stir, then add special food colouring and carefully push an egg shell into the water and wait. I wonder how borax makes crystals.” ~Leah

“Borax crystals are so cool and fun also. We used food colouring, a jar, boiling water and also a spoon. We made snowflakes and geodes because we learned about it.” ~Daniel

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Here’s a slide show of “looking deeply”:

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Stay tuned … we will add some photos of our FINISHED geodes and snowflakes … once we’ve added the sand to our geodes. They’re all in very SPECIAL home made boxes now!

There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.

~Charles Proteus Steinmetz

We wonder:

  • What’s the coolest crystal you’ve ever seen?
  • how do we keep borax from turning chalky white when they lose the moisture out of their crystals?

22 Responses to Exploring Crystals … Looking Deeply.

  1. Ross Mannell

    Hello BPS Bloggers,

    I loved reading about your exploration of crystals. They also fascinate me. I have a number of types in my collection but I would find it hard to pick the coolest as I think they all are in their own way. Perhaps if I narrowed it down, it could be iron pyrite crystals. Iron pyrite is also known as fool’s gold because it is golden in colour yet a crystal. Strike gold with a hammer and it flattens. Do the same to iron pyrite crystal and it shatters.

    When on an excursion to a gold mining area with classes, the tour guide held two samples, one in each hand. One was a gold sample about 2oz while the other was pyrite crystals. The tour guide asked which is the most attractive. All of the children and most adults chose the gold but I chose the crystal. Gold may be worth more but it’s plain compared to a good iron pyrite crystal that isn’t worth very much. I wonder what you might have chosen?

    How can you stop borax crystals from turning chalky white when they lose moisture? Borax itself contains water molecules yet it is also easily dissolved in water as you found. There is a possible way to stop the crystals from turning chalky white through water loss but I suspect it’s hard to do. I’ll share what I had done with another type of crystal with a water problem.

    Over 30 years ago I was in New Zealand and asked and was given permission to take a sulphur crystal sample from a fumerole*. I knew the sulphur crystals would lose their shine if left exposed because, unlike borax’s loss of water, sulphur crystals can break down and become dull as they absorb water.

    I carefully wrapped my crystal sample in multiple paper towels to help keep moisture away. When I arrived home back in Australia, I made a clear perspex case in order to hold the crystals. I added a desiccant pack (it absorbs moisture) then sealed the sulphur crystals inside. After over 30 years, they still have their shine.

    For borax, you would need to seal the crystals in a sealed container after finding a way to keep just the right amount of moisture inside if you wanted them to keep their shine for a long time. However, you could just try placing your borax crystals in a small container then seal the container. This might make your crystals shine much longer. I think it was easier with the sulphur crystals. Perhaps someone knows of a better way but a sealed container not open to the air would be my best guess. Don’t add a desiccant because that would take the moisture out of the borax crystals.

    Ross Mannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

    *Fumerole – it’s an opening in the ground you might find in volcanic areas. They emit steam and gases like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen sulfide. The sulphur in these gases can crystallise.

    It seems my comment was a little long but I have a habit of doing that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Maxine

      WOW! You have all been working so hard and discovering such amazing things. Thank you for sharing!

      • Arash, Colby, Evelyn S and Maya, (on behalf of the BPS Bloggers)

        Hi Maxine!

        Thank you for the lovely comment! We agree that our class is working really hard! And, yes, we have been discovering lots and LOTS of amazing things! We’re glad that you enjoy our posts!

        Have a great day! Keep checking back!

        The BPS Bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Scott (Vivian's Dad)

    Hi BPS Bloggers!

    I am quite interested in your learning since I am new to your class blog. Vivian tells me what her class is doing every day! She has been telling me about… Fibonacii…? She says it is a pattern sequence. Interesting! Same with rocks and minerals!

    Scott

    • Arash, Colby, Evelyn S and Maya, (on behalf of the BPS Bloggers)

      Hi Scott!

      Thank you for this great comment! We are glad that Vivian told you about Fibonacci and glad that you are interested in our learning! We’ve been learning about the inside of the earth, rocks and minerals … and now we are talking about hearing and sound … but … we will probably NEVER been finished talking about rocks and minerals because we are ROCK CRAZY!

      Keep checking back! Have a wonderful day!

      Arash, Colby, Evelyn S and Maya, (on behalf of the BPS Bloggers) ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Maya

    Hi! My favourite part is well… EVERYTHING!! All the geodes were stunningly beautiful!I wish they were real to bad they are not!

  4. Lakers12

    Hello Grade three bloggers im just amazed on how this blog has grown I was in the class who started hi Mrs Renton its zack

    • The BPS Bloggers

      Hi Zack!

      Thank you for this lovely comment! We’re amazed that this blog has grown too! We think it’s awesome that you were in the class that started the blog and it’s amazing that you would find enough time to leave a comment! (Mrs. Renton says hi and she tells us you are in Jr. High now!) It’s such a pleasure to “meet” you since you were in the first class that started the blog! We hope you’re having a great year at school!

      Keep checking back! Have a great day!

      The BPS Bloggers (and Mrs. Renton) ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Leah

    Hi class

    I LOVE making geoids and other things. I hope we make more, but not do I only like making geoids or crystals I like making anything! I think my geoid is unique because it has layers of purple and some blue on the top. I also LIKE all yours. have a great day!!
    your friend Leah

    • The BPS Bloggers

      Hi Leah!

      Thank you for the lovely comment! We are glad that you like making geodes and other things! We think the geodes and snowflakes all turned out SO well!

      Have a great day, Leah! Keep checking back!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Leah

        Hi thanks for the comment I think all of our geodes and snowflakes turned out great! Sadly mine is tarning white but its ok. See ya soon
        your friend Leah

        • Laurie Renton

          Hi Leah!

          Thank you for the wonderful comment! It is so sad that your geode or snowflake is turning white! We think that most of ours are maybe turning white too. Some of us have humidifiers in our bedrooms and we’ve noticed that our crystals keep for longer that way!

          Keep checking back! Have a wonderful day!

          The OTHER BPS Bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Veronica (Vivian's Mom)

    Hi Vivian’s class!

    I think the crystals the class made are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and they are also my favourite colour! Which is purpley-blue and red and all the other colours! Know we need to find a humid place to keep our crystals! Where would you put your crystals?

    Vivian’s Mom,

    Veronica

    • The BPS Bloggers

      Hi Veronica!

      Thank you for this lovely comment! We think you can put your crystal in the basement, if there is humidity there. One of the BPS Blogger’s brothers made one 2 years ago … and his is the only one Mrs. Renton has ever seen that didn’t go white because it didn’t have the chance to dry out. This year, Mrs. Renton is going to try to keep hers in a JAR to see if THAT works! We think that the crystals are beautiful as well. If you find a way to keep the crystals from drying out … please let us know!

      Keep checking back! Have a lovely day!

      The BPS Bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Tareq

    Wow….these geodes and snowflakes are soooooo awesome! It was very fun making these. I liked how my geoid turned out. It looks like an actual geoid! Thanks to Mrs. Renton for your help. I am looking forward to sharing it with my family.

    • The BPS Bloggers

      Hi Tareq!

      Thank you for the lovely comment! We think all of our geodes and snowflakes turned out well too! We would like to say thank you to Mrs. Renton, too, for helping us make our geodes and snowflakes. (Mrs. Renton says you are all VERY welcome … she loved EVERY second of it!!!) We are very happy that YOU are happy with your geode!

      Keep checking back! Have a lovely day!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. William

    Hi class, it’s William and Alex.

    Alex thinks the rock museum was awesome and he wishes that he had a geode or something.

    I (William) think that your blog post on your rock museum was awesome and so was the crystal cave one. I think back to when I was your age in Mrs. Renton’s class and you’ve done so many things that I’ve done, but so much more too. I love your blog to this day and I’m always eager to check back after school everyday. I don’t post many comments because I always run out of time. I’m going to set a goal for myself to post at least one or two comments weekly and have a great rest of your day BPS bloggers. (:
    Keep up the great work can’t wait for more rocks and minerals.

    • The BPS Bloggers

      Hi William and Alex!

      Thank you for leaving a lovely comment! It’s cool that you were an “old” blogger and that you still like to check the blog out! You will probably get to see a lot more rock and mineral posts because we are rock CRAZY! It’s nice to finally “meet” you! One of the BPS Bloggers says you MAY learn MORE about rocks in Grade EIGHT!!! (His SISTER is learning about rocks this year!) Thank you for thinking that our rock museum post and crystal cave post was awesome. We were proud of those posts! We are happy that you check the blog almost every day! We love that you have challenged yourself to leave more comments! What was YOUR favourite thing that YOU did when you were in Grade Three with Mrs. Renton?

      Keep checking back! Have an awesome day!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Katherine

    Hi class and Miss Renton. I saw the pictures on the class blog. I loved how every body’s geod turned out, including Miss Breen’s and Miss Renton’s. I would maybe try to make a crystal at home if I had Borax and food colouring. When I went to Phoenix I saw a lot of geods, including humungous ones.

    • The BPS Bloggers

      Hi Katherine!

      Thank you for this lovely comment! We are glad that everybody’s geodes and snowflakes turned out! We wonder how big that humongous geode was? Half of the class doesn’t have borax or food colouring, but Mrs. Renton says you can find both at SuperStore. Just remember that the colouring you want is for clothes … not for food because the stuff for clothes is STRONGER and RICHER. We wonder if the geodes you saw in Phoenix look the same as the ones we made!

      Keep checking back! Have a wonderful day!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Zari

    Hello class. IM really happy about all we learned this year. Im excited to be at the session of giving. I have lots of rocks ill share them in the evening (there all from the same place but…….. there SPECIAL). I wonder if we could learn how to knit if we can that would be great. Hope everyone likes school, adiรณs (bye).

    yours truly,
    Zari

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Zari!

      Thank you for the awesome comment! It’s okay that you have lots of rocks from the same place. We also want to know how to knit too! Some of us learned how to finger knit in grade two … and … Vivian was lucky enough to have a family friend teach her how … maybe we can each find family members who can teach us how!

      Have a lovely day! Keep checking back!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

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