Let’s learn about the forces that help balance a seesaw with our candle seesaw activity.
This is an extension of our candle science experiments where we recently completed candle under glass experiment and candle rising water experiment.
Kids love to play in a seesaw, isn’t it? This time children will not swing in this but make the candle swing.
Let’s lean about this simple machine ‘See-Saw’ and how the forces acts on each side to make it slide from one side to the other one.
DIY Candle See-Saw instructions
• 2 water glasses of the same height
• One candle (medium size)
• Sewing needle – 1
• Matchbox / Lighter
• Cutting player
Steps to be followed
- Place two glasses close to each other as if you are going to fill water in them. Let them be dry and clean
- Take the candle and using a knife slowly remove some wax at the bottom so that you can see the wick in the bottom too.
- Now we have the candle with wicks seen at both the ends top and bottom respectively
- Measure the candle height with the ruler and mark its center with the pen
- Heat the needle and carefully hold it with a player and insert the needle into the candle through the center marked with a pen
- Let the needle not bend and it is seen on either side of the candle
- Place this in between the glass tumbler such that the needles rest on the rim of the glass allowing the candle to balance in between the glass
- Do not worry if the candle falls to one side and just light that side with matchbox
- Allow the wax to drop for some time and then the candle will stabilize to not touch the table or floor
- Now light the other side of the candle and you can see the candle getting balanced
- Time to play! Touch the candle and rock it so that it starts its seesaw action.
- You’re done and see the candle seesawing
Do this in a slightly dark place to see the brightly glowing candle. Certainly, no wind is allowed as they will switch off the candle. Also, make sure you use the ruler to just touch the candle to make it move if the see-saw action stops.
Kids of all ages can have fun with this experiment. However, 7+-year-old kids can understand the science behind this experiment easily.
Word of caution
It is needless to say that this experiment must be done with elders’ supervision as it deals with candles and fire.
Make sure you are there with kids to avoid any injury due to fire. Also, place the glass on a wooden table or floor but not any table cloth or paper nearby.
Rest I leave it to you elders to take necessary precaution based on your kid’s naughtiness level and age.
Science behind Candle See-Saw
Check out candle science from our candle under glass experiment. The candle seesaw action is explained here.
hen the candle is lighted on one side it starts dripping and hence losses mass. Therefore loses energy as well and moves up.
At this time when you light the other side it will move downward with the mass and now that side will start dripping wax. This push-pull at either side will create a see saw action.
This is similar to actual seesaw which is a lever that has a long beam connected to a fulcrum.
When weight is added to one side the beam gets pulled down due to gravitational force.
Adding weight to another side will pull it downwards that side and both the weight will balance to make it oscillate producing a see saw movement.
Just balance the candle between two glass tumblers by poking the needle in the candle center.
Light one side of the candle wick and once it starts dripping light the other side and you can see the candle seesaw in reality.
Seesaw is made up of a long beam and it is fixed to a fulcrum in the center.
When a child sits on one end of the seesaw due to gravitational force that side of the beam goes down and the other side goes up.
To the other side make another kid sit and both the weight will get pulled down.
Based on the heaviness the beam will go down and come up alternatively forming a seesaw which is fun for kids.
Turn the candle upside down and light the wick with a lighter or matchstick and hold it for few seconds till it drips wax. Then make it upright and it will glow.
Please find the detailed answer in our candle under the glass experiment under the science behind section.
For kids, all experiments we do with candles remain a trick. However, we know the science behind the same.
This candle seesaw is a trick and we have posted a couple more on our site. Keep checking our site regularly and you can find more candle tricks in the days to come.
I suggest you ask this question to kids after completing this experiment. They have played with seesaw too during summer so ask them what do they relate a seesaw with in real life.
But, remember this generation kid might not have seen that in reality as we are digitizing everything. Grown kids might be able to answer as they might have learned some physics in their class.
One immediate example of the seesaw is the balance scale we use to measure things. Thus seesaw, in short, symbolizes the balance between two things or two people in physical weight.
Also, more in detail if you deal with this topic it represents the judgment between two people by comparing their qualities.
We all know that seesaw is used for playing. But apart from that, you can use that as a balance.
Ask kids to understand weight by using seesaw. This they can do it in the playground by checking who is heavier among friends.
They can make miniature at home to find the heaviest object at home. Try this simple experiment with your kids and share more ideas to inspire all of us.