Floating Candles

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In this chemistry activity, learners observe a combustion reaction and deduce the components necessary for the reaction to occur. They will also see the relationship between pressure, volume, and number of molecules for gasses. This activity, which can also be conducted as a demonstration, illustrates Charles's Law and Boyle's Law.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • votive candle
  • 2 400-mL beakers or 2 small jars with diameter larger than votive candles
  • candle taper
  • 1 large Petri dish or 1 aluminum pie can
  • water (with optional food coloring)
  • matches
  • beaker or jar with water


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access with registration