Timber Ridge

Crystal Growing Competition

A competition of experimentation and creativity

co-hosted with Timber Ridge Elementary School

Image: Aluminum potassium sulfate crystal grown by STARS leader, Susanna Huang, with UV light-activated glowing highlighter molecules crystalized inside


A Fun STEM Experience for All

Due to the pandemic, many extracurricular activities have been cancelled. Unfortunately, because of this and because of social distancing measures, many students are often deprived of scientific and hands-on activities at home or in school.

Through this virtual competition, we hope to provide students K-12 a fun STEM experience and an exciting contest to compete in.

Since salt is a safe, relatively common, and easily accessible household product, we settled on centering the overall competition category on growing crystals of salt. The objective of that category is to grow the largest single crystal of salt with the highest crystal quality. 

A second category the Creative Crystal category can be based on any type of crystal growing material. Besides the fact that it has to be a grown crystal, you can let your imagination guide your creative crystal growth. The cooler it is, the better your chances at winning this second category.


2021 Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition Awards Ceremony


2021 Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition Recap


Achievement Awards

AA Steven Huang 20210520_002112.jpg
AA Michael Duke 20210520_002248.jpg
AA Brooke Bloxom 20210520_002022 --.jpg
AA Clark Thomas 20210520_001858.jpg
AA Elliott Neveln 20210520_001610.jpg
AA Jahnavi Bhargava 20210520_001801.jpg
AA Johnny Dickerson 20210520_003016.jpg
AA Ryoma Takagi 20210520_002157.jpg
AA Judy Osborne 20210520_002323.jpg

Achievement Awards:

Brooke Bloxom for the title of Most Exciting Experiment

Clark Thomas for the title of Most Elaborate Experiment

Elliott Neveln for the title of Clearest Crystal

Jahnavi Bhargava for the titles of Most Natural-Looking Crystal and the Best Quality Crystal

Johnny Dickerson for the title of Best Crystal Shape

Ms. Judy Osborne for the title of Most Inspiring Crystal

Michael Duke for the title of the Most Innovative Crystal

Steven Huang for the title of Most Impressive Notebook Entries

Ryoma Takagi for the titles of Most Detailed Lab Notebook and Largest Creative Crystals


Medals of Scientific Excellence

M Michale Duke 20210520_002620.jpg
M Jahnavi Bhargava 20210520_002512.jpg
M Steven Huang 20210520_002419.jpg
M Judy Osborne 20210520_002539.jpg
M Elliott Neveln 20210520_002350.jpg
M Ryoma Takagi 20210520_002836.jpg

Medals of Scientific Excellence:

Steven Huang for winning the Best Salt Crystal Award for the K-2nd grade division because his hand-written lab notebook was the most detailed and reflected much thoughtfulness and intuition.

Elliott Neveln for winning the Best Salt Crystal Award for the K-2nd grade division because his salt crystal alone had the highest clarity and his salt crystal alone had an almost perfect cubical shape.

Jahnavi Bhargava for winning the Best Creative Crystal Award for the K-2nd division because his creative crystal looked like a real, natural crystal, with colors of blues and glints of shiny specks.

Michael Duke for winning the Best Creative Crystal Award for the 3rd-5th grade division because his creative crystal was the largest in his grade division and because his lab report was very thorough with detailed observations and conclusions.

Ms. Judy Osborne for winning the Best Creative Crystal Award for the teacher division because her crystal was beautifully cultivated, and the quality of this crystal was very evident.

Ryoma Takagi for winning the Championship of the entire 2021 Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition for his solid mastery of growing alum, exceptional observation and note-taking skills, and immense diligence, creating a 15 paged lab notebook with 176 data points, tracking the growth of 10 massive alum crystals before putting them into Excel graphs and charts to make the crystal growth trends even the more so evident. 

Last photo of medals and gift cards.jpg

2021 Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition


How to submit your salt/creative crystal:

View this playlist for the videos we prepared for you so that will guide your submission process:


Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition Important links

In this Google Drive, you can find:

(1) 2021 Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition Rules

(2) 2021 Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition Signup Form

(3) Timber Ridge Crystal Journal pdf form

(4) Timber Ridge Competition Flyer



The STEM Director of the Cobb County School District, Dr. Creel, has so kindly offered to purchase the prizes for the following Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition winning places:

- Overall Crystal K-2

- Overall Creative Crystal K-2

- Overall Crystal 3-5

- Overall Creative Crystal 3-5

- Staff/Teacher Crystal

- Staff/Teacher Creative Crystal

Thank you again to Dr. Creel for your support!

Updated 3/14/21


No entrance fee:

In addition, this competition is free for competitors, but if you would like to donate, you are more than welcome to do so because awards need to be bought for competition winners.


2021 Timber Ridge

Crystal Growing Competition


What is a single crystal?


How to Set Up a Crystal Solution 


Crystal Growing Tips


What is a Lab Notebook?



Girls in the Library

Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition Rules

Full rules:

1. The crystal growing season ends on April 11th, 2021.

2. Each Timber Ridge student submits photos and a video of one crystal of salt (for the overall salt crystal category) and one crystal of any safe crystal growing material (for the Creative Crystal category) along with an online lab notebook (via google docs) for each crystal submission.

3. Studentscan register for this competition for free.

4. A Quality and an Overall score will be given to each crystal submission for the overall salt category.

5. Crystals will be ranked based on Overall score and Quality score for the overall salt category. 


2021 Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition Registration Form

This is the registration form for the 2021 Timber Ridge Crystal Growing Competition which is open to all Timber Ridge students and staff. Any student or staff member can register for this competition. Note that as per competition rules (, each student or teacher can submit one overall crystal and one coolest crystal.

Crystals are submitted virtually through photo or video format. No crystal will be physically sent anywhere. The higher the quality of the photos and videos, the easier the judges are able to judge your crystals.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ratio for how much salt and how much water you need to use for making your solution?

Usually, you can create a saturated solution by slowly mixing salt into the water while keeping track of how much salt and water were used so far. When no more salt can be mixed into the solution (no matter how much further you crush the salt at the bottom of the cup and no matter how much more you stir the solution), that means your solution is saturated. When your solution is saturated, salt crystals will easily crystallize out of solution.

For example, for one of our past salt crystal experiments, we added 10 grams of salt into 30 mL of water, and the solution reached saturation point (but this was when the room temperature was 59 degrees Fahrenheit, so the amount of salt required might be different depending on your current room temperature. Usually more salt is required to attain the saturation point at higher room temperatures). 

When does the competition end?

The crystal growing season for this year ends on April 11th, 2021.