Rock Candy Science Experiment
How we did it:
- tall glass/plastic containers (2)
- skewers (2)
- clothespins (2)
- masking tape
- food coloring
- sugar (3 1/2 cups) - plus extra for prep to cover skewer
- water (2 cups) - plus extra for prep to cover skewer
- optional: funnel
Gather your ingredients - V loves to help me in the kitchen so she loved to measure out the water & sugar for this experiment.
This is a 3-day project in total, that helped us work on patience while making something fun and edible. V & I prepped the night before by sprinkling sugar on the skewers after soaking them in water. We let them dry overnight. The next morning V tore off strips of masking tape to go across each glass and then she poked holes in the middle of each tape strip to prep the spot for the skewer placement.
V then poured all the water into a pan. For this next step, a parent step, I boiled the water. Once boiling I added the sugar gradually, about a 1/2 cup at a time stirring constantly until dissolved. Once all the sugar was added, we let the sugar water boil for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes of boiling we added our food coloring, about 4-5 drops of your desired color. Because the pan was very hot and just off the burner, I explained to V the safety of standing back while dropping in the food coloring (if your child is not quite ready for this step, a parent should do it so as to not risk burning). Let the colored sugar mixture cool for another 10 minutes.
Next V pulled back the masking tape and added the funnel to the glass (we have a collapsible funnel & opening it up was very fun for her). For this next step, a parent step, I poured in the colored sugar mixture, half of the mixture to each glass.
We then placed the sugar covered skewers down into the colored sugar water through the preset holes. V then clipped on the clothespins to the skewer to keep them in the middle of the glasses, not touching the sides. It is important that the glasses sit untouched for at least two days to allow the sugar to "grow". I sat ours up on a higher location so that it would not be knocked over accidentally by curious hands.
Here are our rock candies growing on day 2, the left & on day 3, the right. This experiment was quite a challenge for us, and quite the experiment! We first started with taller fluted glasses letting them grow for 4 days. The width of the sugar sealed them to the fluted bottoms making them permanently attached to the bottom. On our second attempt we used the same fluted glasses but only let the candy grow for 2 days, thinking this would be the trick. It wasn't - for 2 days or 4 days there wasn't much growth difference & it still sealed the bottom permanently to the base of the candy stick. The above process became our third & final attempt using a non-fluted glass for only 2 days of growth, which turned out perfectly.
Voila , we have a winner!! Our rock candy was devoured immediately by a patiently waiting V.