Candle experiment for solids, liquids, and gases

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Last week, we studied solids, liquids, and gases in kindergarten.  I usually show pictures of each type of matter and have the kids come up with their own examples.  Sometimes I do little experiments or bring in different liquids for them to experiment with.  This year, I added an additional lesson.  I asked the kids to hypothesize about whether a burning candle would be a solid, liquid, or gas.  I recorded their hypotheses in a graph (see photo below).  I definitely thought I would fool them, but one boy did guess correctly that a burning candle is all three!



After they had made their hypotheses, I showed them this link (a video of a candle burning – you could also light one in the classroom, I suppose, but I was a little too nervous to do that!):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpWVXPQ-1Rk

We watched the video twice, and I asked the kids to describe what they saw to their partners.  Most were surprised to find out that a burning candle is a solid, a liquid, and a gas, all at the same time!  I’ll definitely teach this lesson again this year, because they enjoyed it and it made this concept a little more concrete.

Alison

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9 years ago

What an interesting lesson!! Thanks for sharing. Don’t have my own classroom at the moment, but if I did, I’d use this idea. ~Tracy

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