Magic Dust: Fire Experiment

Estimated Time: 30 minutes

This project requires parental approval.

Let's do an experiment with fire. For this project you will need:

  • Safety equipment such as gloves and goggles
  • Different types of paper such as : newsprint, cardstock, tissue paper, magazine paper, wax paper, etc.
  • Matches or striker
  • Timer
  • Scientific Method Worksheet (See Below).

Ask yourself the following questions before you perform this experiment:

  • Which kind do you think will burn the quickest? the slowest?
  • Will the differences in textures change the burn rates?
  • Write down your hypothesis and then test it.

Safety precautions:

  • Wear gloves and goggles
  • Perform your experiment near a sink
  • Make sure an adult is present with you


  • Cut all the paper to the same size.
  • Set your timer to begin.
  • Light the paper at the same time as you start the timer.
  • When the paper is completely burned, stop the timer.
  • Record your observations.
  • Repeat steps with each type of paper.

Was your hypothesis correct? What did you learn? Let us know in the comments below what you find!

To learn the science behind this experiment, read or listen to the article below.

All Burned Up: Where Does Burnt Paper Go?

Have you ever burnt a stack of papers? Maybe a few exams you didn't do so well on in that high school history class and you thought you'd avoid a load of grief from your folks by just burning the evidence?

Scientific Method Worksheet for Fahrenheit 451.pdf
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