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Ward's World Crystal Ball Activity

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Page 1 Crystal Ball Recommended Grade Level(s): Appropriate for: K–12 Time Requirements: Activity Time: 10 minutes. Preparation: 15 minutes Teaching Topics & Concepts: • To illustrate the crystallization of a supersaturated solution. • Exothermic crystallization. • Evidence, models and explanation, constancy, change, and measurement. • Structure and properties of matter, conservation of energy and increase in disorder, interactions of energy and matter. • Enthalpy, entropy, and free energy. Background: On a cold winter day, those reusable instant hand warmers we buy at gas sta- tions provide a little relief. Even football players use them during cold-weather games. Once the warmer is activated, it starts the formation of crystals from a supersaturated solution. The process is exothermic, generating heat. This effect can be reproduced in the lab to offer more control over the process and make scientific observations. This activity is a great way to introduce students to the exciting and challenging world of crystals and real-world applications. Materials: • Sodium acetate trihydrate, NaC2H3O2•3H2O • Round bottom flask or Erlenmeyer flask with a rubber stopper • Hot plate or Bunsen burner • Wash bottle • Distilled water + ward ' s science Safety • Sodium acetate is a skin, eye, and respiratory irritant. Wear chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, and a chemical-resistant apron. • Read the SDS sheets for all chemicals before using them. • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before leaving the laboratory. • Follow all laboratory safety guidelines. !

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