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Candle Wax

You are going to look at one object and evaluate both its physical and chemical properties. First review what physical properties are. Remember that physical properties are properties including size, shape, color, state and density.


Before viewing the video below, look at the picture of the unlit candle at the left. Now, write down five of its physical properties.


Below is a QuickTime video showing a candle burning. Watch the video closely.

Remember that chemical properties describe how a substance changes into a new substance. For example, you know from previous experience that wood has the ability to burn. Since wood changes chemically when it burns, one of its chemical properties is its ability to burn. Water on the other hand does not burn so water does not have the chemical property of burning. Water does react violently when it is combined with sodium metal. Therefore, a chemical property of water is its ability to react with sodium metal.

Now the the candle has been lit. Observe what you see and list two of its chemical properties. It may help to play the video again by clicking the play button at the bottom left.




  1. In what ways are physical and chemical properties related for a substance?
  2. How might your observations have been different if you had watched the candle burn for five minutes?
  3. Would the chemical properties of the candle have changed if it was a blue instead of a red candle?

Review Science safetey rules here.

Get the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 8th grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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