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Melting Crayons

based on 50 ratings
Author: TaniaDakka
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Summertime Science

If you think you've outgrown crayons, you're probably wrong. The beloved art tools aren't just good for creating colorful masterpieces -- they're also great for science. Using an oven and some old crayons, you can actually test how color affects melting times. It's a simple and creative project that also ends with a waxy, splattered piece of art!

Problem:

What will melt faster, a black crayon or a yellow crayon?

Materials:

  • Black crayons
  • Yellow crayons
  • Cookie sheet
  • Wax paper
  • Timer
  • Pencil
  • Notebook
  • Adult
  • Oven
  • Oven mitt

Procedure:

  1. Have an adult help you preheat the oven to 230 degrees.
  2. Lay a wax paper over the cookie sheet.
  3. Dump your crayons on the cookie sheet. You should have at least three black crayons and three yellow crayons.
  4. Separate the colors so that none of the black crayons are touching the yellow crayons.
  5. When then oven is ready, place the cookie sheet on the center rack.
  6. Start your timer.
  7. While you wait, think about the question of this project: do you think the black or the yellow crayon will melt the fastest? Or, do you think both colors will start melting at the same time?
  8. Write down your best guess, or hypothesis, in your notebook.
  9. Keep checking the crayons to see which crayons are melting the fastest.
  10. Record in your notebook the time at which each color began to melt.
  11. When every color group has melted, have an adult help you use an oven mitt to remove the cookie sheet from the oven. (Don't be too quick to throw away the wax paper and crayon puddles! Once the crayon wax hardens, you can display it as nifty-looking evidence of your project.)
  12. Review your notes. Did all the colors melt at the same time? Was your hypothesis correct?

Results:

The black crayons should have melted much sooner than the yellow crayons.

Why?

Color makes a big difference. The pigments, which give each crayon its color, don't react the same way to heat. Black crayons melted the faster because of it has dark pigments while yellow crayons melt slowly because of the light pigments.

Do you think you can only see these pigments at work with black and yellow crayons? Try this same experiment with the other colors in your crayon box! Can you predict the order that the colors of the rainbow -- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet -- will melt in?

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