While talking about fire safety with my children the other day, we got into a discussion about the science of fire. Â My kids wanted to know just how does fire burn? Â Here is a demonstration of what we learned.
Science of Fire
Fire is mystical to children. Â Therefore it is critical that children learn the importance of fire safety and that fire is not something to play with. Â That being said, it was fun to learn about the science of fire in this simple experiment for kids.
We only needed a few basic supplies:
- a few birthday candles
- some play dough to hold the candles in place
- a small spray bottle of water
- a glass
- and, of course, matches
How Does Fire Burn
I asked my kids to think about what they knew about fire. Â Among many answers given, some included “It’s hot”, “Stop, Drop, and Roll!”, and “It burns up what it touches”.
These answers hit upon exactly what our experiment would demonstrate.
1. Â We sprayed water on a burning candle. Â The cool water turned to steam when it touches the flame thereby taking away the necessary heat that the fire needs to continuing burning. Â Findings: If a fire is hot then fight it by making it cool!
2. Think about what happens when we “Stop, Drop, and Roll”. Â We stop because running around would only fuel the flame with oxygen. Â So instead we drop to the ground and roll around which essentially smothers the fire by removing the oxygen that it needs to burn. Â We tested this by putting a glass over a lit candle. Â The glass didn’t even need to be completely covering the candle to reduce the flame or even extinguish it. Â Findings: If a fire needs oxygen to burn, then removing the source of fresh oxygen will quickly extinguish it.
3. A fire needs fuel to burn. Â This fuel could be in the form of logs in a campfire, gas from a stove, or a simple wax candle. Â We let one candle burn completely down and once the wax was gone the fire quietly went out on its own. Â Findings: Don’t feed a fire! Â Remove the fire’s fuel and it will no longer be able to burn.
This was such a simple experiment to do with basic things we had around the house. Â But to my kids, it was fascinating and an experiment they will not soon forget.