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As fifth grade teacher Megan Jenkins slowly lowers the string into the sugar water, her students watch with curiosity while scribbling notes in their journal to document the process. In just a few days, the blue liquid will magically turn into sugar crystals, delicious enough to eat.
Of course, these fifth graders at Westridge Elementary know that this has little to do with magic and everything to do with science. As part of the fifth-grade science core standard, students will understand the physical and chemical changes that occur in matter. To help the class understand this, Jenkins walks her kids through the process of making rock candy.
The process begins by boiling two parts sugar and one part water together. Once combined, the liquid is poured into a large jar and food coloring is added. Next, a long string attached to a popsicle stick is lowered into the jar, which will remain there for a few days until crystallized. At each step, the students take note of their observations and will continue to do so day by day as the physical state of the mixture slowly begins to change.
Eventually the water will evaporate, leaving the sugar crystals to form to the string. Their science experiment will then be complete and the reward: a sweet treat.