Hot Air Rises (2)

The Action

Put a match very close to the side of a flame and nothing happens. Hold that same match above a flame, and it will ignite!

Grade Level

Grade 5 - Heat

Grade 7 - Temperature & Heat



Candle Holder



Secure a candle in a candleholder. Light the candle with a match. Use a new match and slowly bring the match head close to the side of the flame. Notice that the match can be brought very close to the side of the flame and it won't ignite. Now, slowly put the match head above the flame. The match will ignite!


Because there is flame involved, you may want to do this activity as a demonstration. Care must be taken not to burn skin, as the air above the flame becomes very hot!

Science Principle

This activity demonstrates that hot air rises. The match will ignite fairly high above the tip of the flame because heat rises. Along the side and bottom of the flame, however, the match can be held surprisingly close without igniting.

Video Clip

PDF Download

Print this Experiment