877-542-5504 877-542-5504

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

Lesson Plan #:AELP-PHY001
Author: Darlene S. Rinkes; James C. Isabell, Teller, AK Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


  • Science/Physical Sciences


Safety measures must be in place when working with chemicals/materials used in these activities in order to prevent personal injury or pollution of the environment when disposing of used materials.

PURPOSE: Living on this earth entails an understanding of elements of it, even to the smallest detail of beauty.

OBJECTIVE(s): Students will:

  • distinguish living from nonliving matter.
  • measure crystal growth using the metric system.
  • explain three industrial uses of minerals.
  • learn to take notes from lecture by filling in an outline of main points covered.

    Sodium silicate(waterglass), water-soluble crystals, protective goggles, plastic spoons for handling chemicals, 7-dram vials for crystal gardens, hand magnifiers, alum, microscopes, silver nitrate solution, copper wire, acetamide crystal, microscope slides, heat source, graph paper and metric rulers, chart paper, overhead projector for demonstrations or microprojector.


  • Students will make mini-crystal gardens using waterglass and water -soluble minerals, timing and measuring growth of stalactites and stalagmites. They will graph this growth. Afterwards, students will distinguish whether crystals are living or nonliving by developing a comparison chart of characteristics of each.
  • Students will grow crystals on copper wire using silver nitrate solution.
  • Students, using acetamide crystal, will melt it and observe re -crystallization patterns. Designs of these patterns will be reproduced in color after observing them through filters.
  • Students will observe minerals of different types under a blacklight, distinguishing their composition from charts relating composition to color under a blacklight.
  • Students will grow crystals under different conditions with alum and household items such as cough syrups. salt, sugar, measuring growth rate and comparing that rate under different conditions.
  • Students will observe beach sands, distinguishing mineral content, then observe sand paper under a microscope, also distinguishing minerals used. Discussion of industrial diamonds and other industrial uses of minerals will take place after articles on these topics are read.
  • TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: Using a videodisc segment, students will, in groups, explain sources of crystals/minerals and their uses. At an open house, students will display their crystal activities while explaining their results.

    May 1994

    These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.