Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rock Candy

Update 01/21/07: The rock candy did not turn out. Erg. The kids want to keep trying, so I have been given another recipe. In this one we are told to make sure and use cotton string 2/3 as long as the jar is deep; to add the sugar slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon; to dip the string in the sugar solution and let it dry thoroughly for several days before putting it back in the solution; and to cover the jar with wax paper. If we do all this, and don't touch the jar for several days after putting the string back in, we are promised clearly defined monoclinic crystals. I'm wondering what effect it would have if we waited until the full moon and Mariel promised her firstborn son. Straw into gold and all that. Ho hum. Much scientific learning going on here.

We have been attempting to make rock candy for the past week and a half. First we used the recipe in Science Lab in a Supermarket, but added too much water. Experiment #1 is sitting on the counter after a week and a half, doing nothing. Then we followed the directions to a T. Experiment #2 is sitting on the counter after a week, with the smallest of crystals forming. Then someone on the AO list forwarded a new recipe for rock candy. In this one, you gradually add four cups of sugar to one cup of water, stirring on medium heat until the granules dissolve. This takes quite some time, and to while away the minutes, the kids composed a song, based on the words of our good friend Dory (of Finding Nemo fame):

Just keep stirring
Just keep stirring
Just keep stirring, stirring, stirring
What do we do? We stir, stir

Oh, I lo-o-ove to stir
When you w-a-a-nt to stir
You take a spoon and a bowl
And pour something in
And stir-r-r-r!

We dedicate this song to all our AO friends in Year 3-- may your solution smell like marshmallows, your arm muscles endure to the end and your crystals form large and fast!

(And try not to get any of the syrupy sugar solution on your skin, as it can be very painful. We speak from experience.)

1 comment:

Grey Street Girl said...

i haven't made rock candy in years... you may have inspired me! (I love your section to the right, btw, where you talk about praying/arguing/laughing... very cute.)