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Crystal cultivators.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The challenge: grow the largest, clearest, best quality single crystal. The challengers: high school students and their science teachers from across the country. The competition: Canada's National Crystal Growing Competition. Students are given five weeks to grow the largest, best quality crystals in September/October of each year. The teachers now compete along with the students but in a category of their own. Each school sends in their best crystals which are then evaluated by teams of judges from 18 regions plus our home schooler category. The winners of the regional competitions send in their best quality and best overall crystals for national judging in December.

Judging includes weight and mass of the crystals plus a look at the quality. Factors in judging quality are: a) match/mismatch with crystal type; b) presence/absence of occlusions; c) intact/ broken edges; d) well formed/misformed faces; and clarity/muddiness.

In 2009, the students were challenged to grow crystals using a maximum of 100 grams of aluminum potassium sulphate with the aim to grow the clearest ice-like crystals. National coordinator, Denis Bussieres, FCIC from Universite du Quebec a Chicoutimi, and his team of judges determined the results. Winners receive cash prizes for their schools and individual certificates. The following were the top winners in overall crystal (weight, quality and shape), best quality crystal and best crystal grown by a teacher.

Best Overall Crystals

First place ($300): Marie-Andree Bernier, Ecole Mgr-Labrie, Havre-St-Pierre, Que.

Second place ($200): Diana Ambatali, Angelini Ramharak and Katherine Vanderkruk, St-Joseph College School, Toronto, Ont.

Third place ($100): Ranek Kill, Stephanie Bohaichuk and Ulysses Chin, Harry Ainlay High School, Edmonton, Alta.

Best quality crystal ($200): Mice Ye, Lisgar Collegiate Institute, Ottawa, Ont.

Best teacher grown crystal ($200): Aura Pombert, Harry Ainlay High School, Edmonton, Alta.

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Title Annotation:Student
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Apr 1, 2010
Words:297
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