These crystals are made from a super-absorbent polyacrylamide polymer. Placed in water, they absorb many hundreds of times their own weight and become virtually invisible. Tie a thread around an expanded crystal, drop it into a glass of water and your crystal seems to disappear! For an additional effect, push a toothpick through the suspended gel. The toothpick seems to mysteriously float in the center of the suspended loop of thread. The index of refraction of the expanded crystals is almost identical to that of water. They can be colored by placing them in a mixture of water and food coloring before expanding them.
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This product will support your students' understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)*, as shown in the table below.
Suggested Science Idea(s) 2-PS1-2
| Elementary || || Middle School || || High School |
| 2-PS1-2 |
Students analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.
| || MS-PS1-2 |
Students can analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. MS/ETS1.B
A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results in order to improve it.
| || HS-PS2-6 |
Students will observe and communicate scientific information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of a material.
Students can conduct simple tests using the Water Gel Crystals to better understand the rate at which the polymers absorb or evaporate water. Information gathered can be used as evidence to support or refute student ideas about hydrophilic (water-loving) materials. MS-PS1-2
Students can analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. HS-PS2-6
Students will observe and communicate scientific information about why the substance is able to absorb so much water. Further study of the structure of the hydrophilic polymers will help students to understand that the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of a material.
* NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this product.