Activity Illustration
Virtual Field Trip
Geology of Communities
Dynamic Earth
Hot Spots
Geology in the Classroom
Especially For Teachers
Hall of Fame
Geological Milestones

Bottom of Halifax Harbour

Making a Coal Flower Garden

What You Need

90 mL salt
90 mL liquid blueing
15 mL ammonia
An old pan
Pieces of coal or charcoal briquettes
Food colouring
What To Do:
  1. Find an old pan and grease the edges with Vaseline (this prevents the mixture from going over the edge).
  2. Place a few pieces of coal or charcoal briquettes in the pan.
  3. Mix the salt, liquid blueing and ammonia together.
  4. Pour the salt mixture over the coal.
  5. Dab drops of food colouring on top of the coal (you can use a variety of colours).
  6. Watch your garden grow. Be patient! You should start to see crystals by the next day.
What's Going On? The crystals are formed by salt molecules joining together as the liquid evaporates into the air. The ammonia helps to speed up the rate of evaporation. What Else You Can Do:
You can grow crystals of rock candy by dissolving sugar in hot water. Pour the hot sugar water into a glass and dangle a piece of string from a pencil into the liquid. As the liquid cools, sugar crystals appear on the string.

BE CAREFUL! If you are making the sugar crystals, be sure to get an adult to help, as hot water can be dangerous.


    Last Modified: 2004-12-10