In this science experiment we will grow Epsom salt Crystal Spikes.  

Black construction paper
A pie pan, cake pan, or shallow bowl
Warm water
Epsom salt (usually near the rubbing alcohol in the supermarket)

Process to Grow or Make Crystal Spikes From Epsom Salt

1) Use your scissors to cut the black paper so it will fit in the bottom of your pie pan.

This activity works best on a sunny day.

2) Add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt to 1/4 cup of warm water. Stir until the salt is dissolved.

3) Pour the salty water onto the black paper in the pie pan.

4) Put the pie pan out into the sun. When the water evaporates, you'll see lots of crystal spikes on
the black paper!

The Science Behind Epsom Salt Crystal Spikes

If you can look at the crystals under a  microscope. Why does Epsom salt make crystal spikes?
When you add Epsom salt to water, the salt dissolves. When you leave the pan in the sun, the
water evaporates and the salt forms
crystals shaped like long needles.

If you tried this experiment with table salt instead of Epsom salt, you wouldn't get crystal spikes.
That's because table salt and Epsom salt are chemically different, so the crystals that they form
are very different.

The picture on the right shows part of an artwork created for the Exploratorium by Swiss artist Jörg
Lenzlinger. He mixed different kinds of salts with water. As the water evaporated, the salts
crystallized, making beautiful shapes that kept growing and changing. Now go make some Epsom
Salt crystal spikes and watch them grow.

Crystal Spikes Epsom
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