Photo of amethyst crystals

Science Experiment: Crystal Structure Study Experience

Crystal Structure Study Experience

You will need: 2 balloons, 12-inch funnel, salt, sugar, hand lens tray or plate (not white)

  1. Fill one balloon with salt, pinch tight, and tie off. Then fill the second balloon with sugar, pinch and tie off.
  2. Manipulate the balloons and observe differences between the sugar and salt.
  3. Place a pinch of salt and sugar on a tray. Study the crystal using a hand lens. Compare and contrast the crystal shapes and structures.


Minerals have a crystal form (shape) that reflects their atomic structure. Salt (NaCl), has angles that lock together more readily when confined by the barriers of a balloon. Sugar has a crystal form, but is not a mineral. Crystal form is one technique we can use to identify rocks and minerals. Cave formations are crystals of the mineral calcite.

Photo of amethyst crystals