A couple of weeks ago, we decided to make some gold of our own. We used golden sanding sugar from a local craft store, and normal sugar to make our gold. But sugar crystals take a whole week to completely form. The boys wanted to make gold crystals faster! Looking back at our first crystal experiment, I remembered that borax crystals formed overnight. What if we could create golden crystals overnight by combining the borax and golden sanding sugar? I pulled together a estimated recipe based off the ratios of water and borax used in the first crystal experiment, then decided just to add about have a bottle of golden sugar, and see what happened! Here’s the fun experiment for kids we created!
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- toothpicks (or stick, small dowel)
- baking string
- small black plastic pot
- gold sanding sugar
- 1 cup of borax
- 2 cups of water
Golden Fun Experiment for Kids
Step 1: Cut a 3″ piece of baking string, and tie a knot at one end.
Step 2: Tie the other end of the string to the middle of a toothpick.
Step 3: Boil 2 cups of water.
Step 4: Pour half of the gold sanding sugar into the boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Step 5: Pour the cup of borax into the boiling water and golden sugar solution. Stir until all the borax is dissolved.
Step 6: Using a spoon or small cup, slowly pour the water/sugar/borax solution into one of the small black pots.
Step 7: Suspend the toothpick from step 2 along the opening of the pot, and stick the string into the pot.
Step 8: Leave the string in the solution overnight.
Step 9: After one day, pull the string out of the pot, and admire your gold!
We compared our overnight gold to the sugar gold that took a week to make.
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A few observations we made of the borax/sugar versus the sugar only crystals:
- The borax/sugar crystal shape is larger than the crystal shape of the purely sugar crystal. I explained the difference in shape could be due to the specific pattern the borax and sugar molecules form when cooling down. The difference in size could also be due to the ability of the molecules in the solution to freely move and create bonds. The more freely molecules can move in a solution, the easier it is for them to form crystals.
- The borax/sugar crystal has a slightly lighter golden color. The sugar crystal solution required a lot more sugar to create a saturated solution than the borax crystal solution took to make a saturated solution. Therefore, the sugar water mixture was much thicker (or denser), and so not as much light can shine through the crystal. The lack of light makes the crystal look darker.
When I asked the boys which golden crystal they liked more, it came to no surprise than this experiment was their favorite. The experiment was faster and made more “gold”!
If you enjoyed this experiment, make sure to follow me on Instagram (@fromengineertosahm) and Facebook (@fromengineertosahm) for more experiments and STEM/STEAM activities!
Looking for more crystal experiments? Try my other two!
Interested in other science experiments we’ve done? Here are a few!
Semipermeable Membrane STEAM activity
Floating Ghost Magnetism STEM Activity!
Beyblade Experiment: What affects Momentum?
Make a Rainbow using one of the Properties of Water
Levitating Pumpkin Experiment
Paintball Forces Science Experiment