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Student Activity - The great candle experiment

Activity idea

In this activity, students cover a lit candle with an inverted jar in a saucer of water. The flame expires and the water rises up in the jar.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • engage in scientific debate, using observation to present ideas
  • understand the effects of heat in terms of expansion and contraction in this experiment.

Download the Word file (see link above) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • discussion questions
  • scientific explanation
  • student instructions.

Nature of Science

Explanations of observations can be tricky. Scientists need to be careful that their prior knowledge doesn’t lead to plausible explanations that actually turn out to be incorrect – or not the whole reason why something might happen.