Keeping · Nature Study & Science

Adventures with Salt Crystals

A Quick Apology: The Learning by Hand link-up is going to have to wait until Saturday, when I can pawn these wild apes off on ask my husband to watch the kids. Seriously, I have been at low-power due to a head cold and they know it. They have literally been bouncing off the walls all week. I appreciate your patience. Maybe I’ll have their Dad take them to the wood shop to make something photo-worthy!

Adventures with Salt Crystals

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d had a hard time using Adventures with a Microscope. I decided to apply the ready-fire-aim method, and we gave a shot to adventure #1. Which went okay, other than the microscope was dirty. This week I cleaned it. Some unnamed child had managed to take the eyepiece apart, it took a bit of googling to figure out which way the lenses went. But it is much improved, although not perfect.

Adventure #2 - Sea Salt Chrystals
Adventure #2 – Sea Salt Crystals

We decided to try Adventure #2, which, according to Jeanne’s handy guide, required only salt and sugar. It took us a bit to figure out the preparations. My son kept trying to use a huge jar of cool water, but when I gave him a dark-colored bowl with very hot water, we could see when the salt crystals stopped dissolving. We put a dropperful onto the slide and left it on a shelf. After lunch the water had evaporated, and we put it under the scope. This is the first time we’ve successfully prepared a slide and I am really, really pleased with how well we managed.

My son did his entry first. We used a soup can to draw our field of view circles. He had a great time moving the slide around, looking at different formations.

My 12yo Son's Entry
My 12yo Son’s Entry

Then it was my turn. I am trying to develop the ability to use the microscope with both eyes open, and made a little progress. Do you know what the point of drawing what we see is? It’s not the drawing, it’s the seeing. I had to look carefully to gauge the position and relative size of my crystals. Then I had to study them, to see what each section looked like, keeping the image in my mind long enough to reproduce it onto the page. We are learning to attend.

Mom's Drawing of Salt Crystals
Mom’s Drawing of Salt Crystals

Next, I’d like to try the Himalayan Pink Salt, and, of course, sugar.

Today’s Poem (in honor of National Poetry Month)

May Night, by Sara Teasdale

The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.

Here in the morning shadows,
I catch my breath and sing –
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring.

3 thoughts on “Adventures with Salt Crystals

  1. “Do you know what the point of drawing what we see is? It’s not the drawing, it’s the seeing.”

    Well said.

  2. Lovely poem you’ve shared.
    I appreciate your sharing your frustrations and progress with the book and experiment you’ve done. We seriously lacked just about everything necessarily to do anything worthwhile (included in that was the motivation) for science things the last few years. Your line, quoted by Dawn as well, makes me realize that we were thinking about the wrong thing- doing everything *perfectly*, and to say we’d done it. No, we should have been looking to see what we would see.

  3. I love your science and nature posts, Amy Jo! Thanks for being transparent — it quells my perfectionist tendencies (and those of my son) and keeps me focused on the big picture.

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