Spain: crystallization competition in schools

The Crystallization Competition in the School ( is an innovative contest on Crystallography and Crystallization for young students aged 12-16. It is organised in Spain and coordinated by the Spanish Specialized Group of Crystallography and Crystal Growth (GE3C).

During the 2013/2014 school year the Competition is organised in 7 geographical areas hosting 7 intermediate finals: Andalucía, Aragón, Asturias, Canarias, Cataluña, Madrid, and Valencia. Then, the best crystallization projects from each area will be selected to present their crystallization projects in the National Final at the headquarters of the Spanish National Research Council CSIC in Madrid in May 2014.


  1. To stimulate scientific vocations among secondary school pupils and to attract a general interest towards science.
  2. To explain basic concepts of Crystallography and Crystallization taking advantage of the natural attraction of crystal growth.
  3. To communicate how researchers work and compete in a scientific environment.
  4. To bridge the gap between Science and Society by explaining the importance of Crystallography in everyday life.
  5. To convey science as an enjoyable, fun and enriching activity.

Development of the Competition

The competition is designed in an innovative format composed of four successive and distinct phases:

1)   Recruitment and training of secondary school teachers (October-November 2013)

A short course of 2 days entitled ‘Crystallography in the School’ is organised for school teachers in each geographical area. The aim of this seminar is to provide specific training in Crystallography and Crystallization by means of practical tools that can be translated into enjoyable activities in the classroom. The activities of the seminar include lectures on basic Crystallization and Crystallography concepts, illustrative examples of spectacular applications of Crystallography, practical demonstrations on how to grow crystals and the use of educational tools such as computer programs and games.

2)   Laboratory work and experimental follow-up (December 2013-March 2014)

An innovative crystallization kit of ADP (ammonium phosphate) is the central element of the Competition. This kit contains a bilingual tutorial (English and Spanish) and a selection of numerous photographs and videos of crystal growth that owing to its striking beauty motivates students to discover the fascinating world of Crystallization. The students are divided into teams and conduct crystallization experiments in the laboratory under the supervision and guidance of their teachers, who have previously taken part in the course ‘Crystallography in the School’. The students grow spectacular large crystals of ADP through an enjoyable and stimulating activity while developing a solid understanding of the concepts involved: solubility, supersaturation, nucleation and crystal growth. The students may also develop other crystallization projects related to the formation of geodes, salt crystallization in its different forms and crystallization in gels.

3) Intermediate Finals of the Crystallization Competition (April 2014)

The Intermediate Finals of the Competition are organised in each of the 7 geographical areas. The format of the Final is similar to a ‘Scientific Congress’ and is open for the general public to attend. During the Final, each team of students has to present a crystal model together with a scientific poster detailing the objectives, materials, methods, results and conclusions of their work.

4) National Final of the Crystallization Competition (May 2014)

The best crystallization projects from each geographical area are selected to present their crystallization projects in the National Final at the headquarters of CSIC in Madrid in May 2014.

Organized by: GE3C, CSIC and the Crystallization Factory.
Sponsored by: FECYT, MINECO and Triana Science & Technology.

Contact Alfonso Garcia Caballero
Category competitions