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Most upper elementary science curricula contain some sort of lesson in which students identify and compare the visual structure of table salt and table sugar. So, when we set out to conduct this rather standard lesson with our fifth-grade students, we expected them to learn how to use some of their senses to identify salt and sugar granules and to be able to describe some of the differences between them. Instead, we found students' curiosity propelled the lesson forward, and they began asking good questions themselves.
This article is published as Sharp, Janet, Karen Hoiberg, and Scott Chumbley. "Comparing crystals." Science and Children 41, no. 2 (2003): 33. Posted with permission.