Homeschool Science: Will a crayon burn for 30 minutes?

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My boys love Pinterest.Why? They see pins of “great, workable ideas”…and then they see if they can disprove them. Yes, my boys consider themselves to be Pinterest Busters.

Our latest Pinterest busting adventure came after the boys saw the claim that in an emergency, a crayon will burn for 30 minutes. They were really interested in testing this one out because it involved destroying a crayon by way of fire would help humankind know if they had options should they only be left with a stray crayon and a match as their source of light when the end of the world arrives.

The Nine and Ten Year Old Hmmmschoolers set up a rig by drilling crayon sized holes into a piece of scrap wood. They set up two different kinds of crayons (Rose Art and Crayola) for various experiments.

Next, they attempted to light one of the crayons on fire.

“Mom, are you ready with the timer?”

I was ready.

I said, I was r-e-a-d-y.

Light the crayon already, will you?

Lesson #1 – the crayon is extremely hard to light.

We decided to break off the point of the crayons (assuming that the paper is what acts as the wick) and when we did that…

Oh gosh! After a few tries with the crayon tip broke off, it finally lit! I’m ready with the timer…

…which we only needed for about three minutes. That’s three without a zero next to it.

No matter how many times we did this experiment, it never burned longer than three minutes.

Oh, and lesson #2? Burning crayons STINKS. Literally. I don’t know what misfit chemicals are released when you’re burning a crayon but goodness, grab the nose plugs.

Or, better yet,  just don’t burn crayons.

After our experiment (which we did several times) failed to produce a crayon that burned reliably for anything near thirty minutes, the boys deemed this Pinterest adventure busted. After some thought, we started to wonder exactly what emergency you would encounter that would force you to grab a crayon and a match as your source of….light?….heat? What are the chances that in said emergency situation you would have a crayon instead of a candle nearby? And in what emergency would you choose the itty bitty unreliable flame over the obnoxious smell that comes with it?

Oh, Pinterest. We adore busting your pins. Until next time…

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4 thoughts on “Homeschool Science: Will a crayon burn for 30 minutes?”

  • LOL have you ever seen the Pintester? She's not exactly kid-friendly, but she does test some interesting stuff now and then. She did this one last week and came to roughly the same conclusion. I love that your boys set up a whole rig, though. That's clever.

  • 🙂 My kids use pinterest for finding pictures of chocolate cakes, cookies and candies to drool over. We did the melted bead art once- as a fair project- and man does that stink too!I will never do it again purely because I started to worry about what chemicals we were exposing ourselves too while plastic beads were melting in the oven!

  • Love this. Way back when I was in 6th grade, my mom went back to work. I was supposed to be responsible enough to carry a house key and let myself in my locked home after the bus dropped me off. Many times I forgot, in the dead of winter, and had to sit outside in the freezing cold for four hours until a parent came home. Once I discovered my dad didn't keep our camper locked, I would stay there and burn crayons to keep my hands warm. So I guess that's a good enough emergency 😉

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