Activity: monitorings of a burn Candle

Safety: an initial and Foremost

If you pick to do any type of of the testing as a show or as manual activities, it"s important to monitor all security precautions come the utmost. Students may need to be reminded that burns room painful and also can be disfiguring, and also trying any of this experiments (especially the cellulose nitrate, also as advertising flash record sold in magic stores) top top a larger scale can be fatal. The is our hope the in providing video footage of the much more dangerous demonstrations, the need for individuals to perform these in human being will it is in nil, and also thus students will have the ability to see the chemistry and also learn from it without any risk whatsoever.

You are watching: 100 observations of a burning candle

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Wear safety goggles at every times.Provide a safety and security shield for defense of the students and of you.Perform every experiments and demonstrations in a well-ventilated area, in open, quiet air. (That is, if you do this outdoors, a breezy day have the right to be unpredictable and also hazardous.)Never ignite something in a sealed or closeup of the door container.


to intoduce the students to the monitorings and vital thinking To have actually the students build a hypothesis and to develop an experiment to check the hypothesis

National Science education Standards: contents Standards

This task fulfills the following within the content Standards: 9-12

Content traditional A: scientific research as inspection Safety have to be one integral ingredient of your investigations.Content typical B: physical ScienceStructure and also Properties of matter Chemical reaction


Candle Lighter or Matches Notebooks or record for Each student to document Data creating Utensil small pan or non-flammable surface to collect dripping wax


Observations come make before you irradiate the candle

Answer the complying with questions concisely. The is, use quick sentences or sentence fragments, and only to speak what really demands to be recorded. You may want to job-related in pairs or tiny groups, each writing down observations, then periodically to compare notes and also asking each various other questions. If you carry out it this way, simply remember: don"t make critical comments! Be critical in your thinking, in the feeling of constantly asking you yourself "What go that typical anyway?" and also not in the feeling of "That"s plainly wrong" or "What a dumb observation." Be optimistic in your approach, focus on the candle, and also keep questioning yourself inquiries in your very own mind, especially questions that lead to additional observations and an ext questions.

Give a physical description of the candle and its components. What are the individual parts and what room they make of? how is the candle shaped? Why? at what angle execute you arrangement to burn the candle? Why?

Do part physical "tests" on the candle utilizing what you have on girlfriend or laying roughly the room. What carry out these tests call you around its properties?

Do any of these tests provide you an indication that the nature the the candle materials at the molecule level? What execute you know around the chemical nature and/or composition of this components?

Hypothesize what will occur when you irradiate the candle and also start it burn

create down what girlfriend think will happen in regards to the observations you made above, especially with respect come the molecule level. Begin a new page and be complete however concise.

Now, irradiate the candle and also watch what wake up

In her notebook, record all the observations you deserve to make regarding the lighting and burning the the candle. Because that this first set of observations, don"t worry around asking concerns so lot as just making as plenty of quick notes together you can. You should setup on spending a fair amount of time on this (more than a minute and also less 보다 an hour or two).


It is crucial that you document your observations as quickly as friend can and also then come earlier to some of them later on for more thought and extended observation. As you look at the candle, shot to separate the contents into the separation, personal, instance elements. The flame is different from the vapor which is various from the wick and also the solid and also liquid wax. There are processes in dynamic equilibrium developing during the burn process. Think around these processes and also ask you yourself questions. There room physical transforms occurring and also chemical reactions. Shot to imagine what this are, list them, and also ask questions around them. Your "observations" should also contain conjecture and hypotheses around what is developing or why it is occurring. It is vital that you have actually some the these extensions of the observation procedure recorded. Try to make at the very least 10 distinct and separate observations initially. (Be conscious that individual observations numbering over 100 have actually been recorded by others.)

It may take you a when to start to think about what is happening. Be patient and work at the process. When you begin to see exactly how to ask concerns related come what you room seeing, a snowball impact will occur that must open increase whole new areas of monitoring for your an essential consideration. Be certain to create down all of your thoughts and also observations as they occur. Don"t shot to be critical of the material you create down, but simply placed it down as easily as possible. Girlfriend will have plenty that opportunity later for evaluation and grouping of her data.

take one monitoring that you recorded above and:

break it down into macroscopic matches molecular levels.See if you have the right to coordinate what is happening in between what you"ve physically observed (that is, the macroscopic level) and the molecule level.Most important, speculate on what is actually happening at each of these levels.Ask yourself, because that both the macroscopic and molecular levels, why the habits that friend observed take it place.What to be the molecular building involved? What transforms in that property occurred during the burn process? enter as much information as you can.Now, pick one more observation or two and also carry out the exact same level of comprehensive analysis. Try to relate the observations you made above to those that you make in this section.

You should uncover that together you practice this procedure of observation and also recording your thoughts, you become better at questioning questions about what is happening, and then composing down answers. This iteration is component of "doing science."

Repeat this procedure several times: this repeat is also component of act science.

Now try to "watch" you yourself observing and also asking you yourself questions:

How have the right to you perform this better, with conscious awareness?Can girlfriend see feasible ways of gaining the answers when you room asking the questions?

Test Your theory by doing an Experiment

After girlfriend feel like you have actually made sufficient observations to give you a pretty great understanding the what is in reality happening throughout the burn process, the is time to execute an experiment. An experiment results as soon as you asking a question and then construct a an approach to answer that question. The experiment itself is actually the procedure of obtaining the answer.

So, below is what you have to do:

First, try to ask a great question. Think around the observations that you made, especially those that you don"t really understand, and try to formulate some type of theory (or good guess) around what is happening.Once you have a an excellent question, shot to think of methods that you can answer the question. What type of dimensions or monitorings (either with your very own eyes or with other methods) would assist you acquire the answer? Think around the sort of data you"ll collect - will certainly your data be qualitative (that is, descriptive) or quantitative (with number measurements). What execute you have obtainable in the lab that you might use come measure changes that occur?Once you have some idea of how to actually carry out the experiment, go ahead and do it.Safety First! Make certain that you take into consideration safety at every step. (Note: never put a thermometer into the flame. The high temperature the the flame will break many thermometers.)As you design your experiment, think about how girlfriend will current your results. A good experiment is reproducible, and also so you"ll need to outline your measures (procedure) an extremely specifically. Don"t obtain bogged under in making the perfect the very first time around, just make certain that you take clear and details notes.

Be an innovative - you have to be maybe to architecture experiments the you can do through what you can uncover in the rap or that you can quickly acquire through very little effort. Because that example, stop a item of glass end the candle together it burns (probably at an edge would job-related better) can help you answer questions about what is progressed or offered off throughout the combustion process. Think that other simple ways that investigating more what is walking on and also see what type of great experiments you deserve to come increase with.


Attached right here is a printable kind that has actually most that the questions and also directions below, but with space for the students to write in your answers and also observations while you work.


A burning Candle: an Experiment in ObservationFrom the Macrogalleria Also, examine out these referrals that discuss classic candle experiments:

"The Persistence of the Candle-and-Cylinder Misconception," through James P. Birk and Anton E. Lawson, journal of chemical Education, 1999, 76, 914-916.

See more: What Is The Formula Mass Of Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate Caso4 2H2O

This post discusses why a candle under an inverted beaker in a container that water does not suggest the percent of oxygen in the air. The complying with is one excerpt from this article:"In conclusion, in every experiment the purports to measure up 21% oxygen in wait by a combustion process, combustion is no consuming every the oxygen. Rather, the heater of air results in partial expulsion of air. The fire is extinguished by local depletion of oxygen and also buildup that carbon dioxide, not by complete burning of oxygen in the remaining air. Once the fire expires, the apparatus and also enclosed wait cool ago to room temperature, bring about a push differential that results in a rise in the water level."

""Experiment v a Candle" there is no a Candle," through Dusan Krnel and also Sasa A. Glazar, journal of chemistry Education, 2001, 78, 914.This post is a follow-up come the vault article, and also describes a means to prove the same allude using a Bunsen burner.

Other short articles that might be that interest:

"A brand-new use because that the candle and also tumbler myth," by Gavin D. Peckham, J. Chem. Educ. ,1993 70 1008. "Demonstration the the burning of a candle," by Isidor S. Hirschhorn, J. Chem. Educ. ,1941, 18, 107. "Evolution the the candle," by G. Griffin Lewis, J. Chem. Educ. , 1934, 11, 367.