Phase Change
Properties of Matter

Handling crystals

Practical Activity for 14-16 PRACTICAL PHYISCS

Class practical

An opportunity to look more extensively at the nature of crystals. Students are often fascinated by crystals especially if they can handle large ones.

Apparatus and Materials

  • Alum crystal, large
  • Calcite crystals
  • Sodium thiosulfate crystals
  • Caster sugar
  • Sugar crystals, type used for coffeeHand lenses

Health & Safety and Technical Notes

Hands should be washed after handling crystals.

Read our standard health & safety guidance


Ask students to handle the large crystals for themselves and closely examine the smaller ones.

Teaching Notes

  • Students should learn that crystals are identified by flat faces with angles between them. The angles are characteristic of that material, regardless of their size. They could be encouraged to look for crystals at home.
  • You may need to take precautions to avoid theft and breakage of the large crystals.

This experiment was safety-tested in May 2004

Appears in theseCollections
Phase Change
can be analysed using the quantity Energy
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