Day 1: Native American Salt Stick Evaporation Project 

Objective: Campers will review the water cycle and learn how evaporation plays an important role in creating salt sticks used by Native Americans along the Pacific coast. 

Supplies Provided: 

• Toothpicks 

• Modeling clay 

• Pencil 

Supplies needed from home: 

• Small plastic bowl 

• Small cup 

• Salt 

• Measuring spoons 

• Warm water 

• Old clothes 

• Paper Towels 

• Protected work area 

Step one: Warm water on the stove. Do NOT let the water boil. The water should be warm enough to be worked with. As the water is warming, roll a piece of modeling clay into small balls and place them on the bottom of the bowl. Stick a single toothpick into each of the balls of clay. 

Step two: After the water has been warmed, pour into a small cup. Add a tablespoon of salt into the water and stir until it is dissolved. Add more salt, one tablespoon at a time (I used about 3-4 tablespoons of salt. Depending on the amount of water you have, the more salt it will require). Continue adding salt to the water until the water is supersaturated/cloudy and no more salt can be dissolved. 

Step three: Slowly pour the water into the bowl. Do not fill the bowl completely. Fill the bowl to the point where the clay and 1⁄4 of the toothpick is covered. It should look like a shallow pond. 

Step four: Place the bowl in a warm area so the water can evaporate (I placed my bowl in the garage since it is the warmest room in the house. Placing the bowl next to a window will work just as well). Each day, check the toothpicks to see if crystals are forming. Be careful not to touch the crystals as they are forming. It will take anywhere for 1-2 weeks for crystals to form completely. 

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