Water Cycle Experiment
Salt on a Stick

This water cycle experiment combines science and history. Indians living on the Pacific Coast around the San Francisco bay would create shallow ponds of ocean water. They would place sticks in the water and allow the water to evaporate. As the water evaporated salt crystals would form on the sticks.

Indians would then bundle up the sticks and travel to the mountains where they exchanged the stick covered with salt for obsidian needed to make arrowheads. In this experiment you will use a bowl as the shallow pond and clay to stick your toothpicks in to collect the salt.

Water cycle experiment, Salt on a stick, Photo Myrna MartinSalt crystals forming on toothpicks


  • Bowl
  • Toothpicks
  • Salt
  • Modeling clay (non hardening)
  • Cup
  • Measuring spoons


  1. Pour hot water from the faucet into a cup.
  2. Add a tablespoon of salt and stir until it is dissolved.
  3. Add more salt one tablespoon at a time.
  4. Continue adding salt until your solution is supersaturated and no more salt will dissolve.
  5. Set the cup of salt water aside.
  6. Make a small round ball with your modeling clay.
  7. Stick the clay to the bottom of the bowl.
  8. Continue creating small balls of clay and sticking them on the bowl until you have 8 or 10 on the bottom of the bowl.
  9. Stick a single toothpick in each ball of clay so them are perpendicular to the bottom of the bowl.
  10. Set the bowl in a warm area so the water can evaporate.
  11. Each day look at the crystals forming on the sticks.

More Links to Earth Science Experiments


RC Igneous Rocks
ID Metamorphic Rocks

Check out Myrna Martin's award winning textbooks, e-books, videos and rock sets.  The Kids Fun Science Bookstore covers a wide range of earth science topics.  Click here to browse. 

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