June 18th, 2024

Praxis: Swapping back among states of matter

By Medicine Hat News on July 14, 2018.

I don’t know about you, but I am FINALLY getting around to cleaning up the remnants of school supplies that were used last year and arrived home the last day of school. It is really hard for me to throw away some of the items as they are still in pretty good condition. This made me take a moment and think; do we always need new items? Should we not do our part for the Earth more often and reduce, reuse, recycle and even repurpose? I think we need to give some of those used school supplies a new life for the summer. Let’s get started!

*Remember to ask an adult before doing this experiment.


– broken wax crayons

– silicone tray/muffin pan

– science helper

– oven

– timer


1. Have the science helper preheat the oven to 90 C (200 F).

2. Set the silicone tray on a sturdy work surface.

3. Peel all of the paper off of the wax crayons.

4. Break the crayons into the separate compartments of the silicone tray. Make sure you mix them up really well so that you have an exciting array of colours.

5. Once you are all finished putting the crayons in the silicone tray, have an adult put it in the oven.

6. Set the timer for 10 minutes.

7. Carefully check the crayons. If they have all melted, you are finished, if not, check every couple of minutes until they are completely melted.

8. Remove the silicone tray from the oven.

9. Place on a counter to cool well. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH, it is HOT!

10. Once the new crayons are cool, pop them out of the molds and create a new art masterpiece!

What is going on?

The “3R’s” are something we hear about often. Reduce, reuse and recycle are all great things to do; I also like to throw in repurpose. Sometimes there are things we have at home that can be made into new and exciting items with a little bit of creativity! Not only did you do your part in reducing waste, but you also learned a bit about science in this experiment. You learned about states of matter. Did you know that matter is all around us? Matter comes in three states — solid, liquid and gas. When you heated up the crayons, you changed the states of matter from a solid to a liquid. As the crayons cooled when you removed them from the oven, they also underwent another change; a liquid back to a solid. Wow! Who would have thought something this simple also involved science?

If you would like to be part of Praxis, come and learn more at our annual AGM Aug. 22. Contact us for further details.

Patty Rooks is senior scientific consultant at PRAXIS, “Connecting Science To The Community.” Contact Praxis at praxis@praxismh.ca, http://www.praxismh.ca, Tweet or follow us @PraxisMedHat, or friend us on Facebook.

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