Creating Crystals with Sugar

The best part of participating in Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman’s class is being able to combine food with art, and sometimes creating a tasty treat along the way. In Roytman’s last Science is Real virtual class on Zoom, the students learned how to make sugar crystals (also known as rock candy).

Sugar crystals are edible treats that can be created for decoration or eaten. Roytman provided the students with a basic supply list: sugar (about 3 cups), 1 cup of boiling water (to be done with a parent), food coloring, the option of adding flavoring (peppermint or cinnamon), a clean class or jar, and a skewer and string.

Roytman started the experiment by using a measuring cup to pour several cups of sugar into a pot of boiling water. As she kept adding sugar, the water became thicker, almost like Jell-O.   Once it was thick enough, it was time for the liquid to cool.

While they waited, Roytman showed them a video about the elemental composition of crystals that are created naturally within the earth.  They learned about Quartz, diamonds, and other crystals.

Roytman’s next step was to add a wooden skewer into the middle of the jar with a string hanging off attached to a pencil (to keep the string from sinking inside of the jar).  You can cover the jar with a paper towel or piece of paper as you wait for it crystalize.  This may take a day or two, but you will be able to see the crystals form at the top of the jar first.

The children asked Roytman to make a red and green crystal design. As they watched her, they followed along with heir parents to complete the experiment.

Photo screenshots by Amanda Moses