Crystallographers in Year 5

Year 5 students are practising the work of crystallography in a joint Art and Enrichment unit of work. Crystals are commonly viewed as an embodiment of purity and perfection and hold unique physical qualities. People’s fascination with crystals dates back thousands of years. Students are displaying their fascination with crystals through their enthusiasm and engagement during their explorations.

Through the Visual Arts Curriculum students are exploring the work of Israeli artist, Sigalit Landau. Landau’s stunning sculptures are created by submerging objects in the Dead Sea and allowing crystallisation to occur. Year 5 students have used Landau’s art as inspiration for their sculptures of ballet costumes covered with salt crystals. The result is delicate white sculptures that seem to come out of a fairy tale. Indi Allen-Goldbaum described the process as “challenging and requiring lots of patience”.

Students are also conducting a scientific process to grow alum crystals. They are building their skills in conducting experiments safely, making observations and recording data and detailed descriptions using scientific vocabulary. As the crystals grow, the students’ knowledge of crystallisation is also growing. Zac Robinson was surprised that the crystals formed as soon as the saturated liquid cooled and that the alum crystals were reasonably large.

The Royal Australian Institute of Chemical Science’s (RACI) Crystal Growing Competition is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our results. Students will enter the competition by submitting artistic photos of their crystals and writing reports that are judged on the crystals’ symmetry, clarity and cut.

Thank you to Louis Pittas, Senior School Chemistry Teacher for his mentoring.

Danielle Matulis and Debbie Arnheim

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