Chemistry of Fireworks
The colorful and impressive fireworks displays seen during New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July, and other events pack a lot of chemistry into those “Ooooo! Aah!” moments.
Experiments & Activities
- Underwater Fireworks (Flinn Scientific)
Fireworks have to be up in the air, right? Think again! Try these cool flashes of light—underwater.
- What Do We Know About Fireworks?
Nothing ready for the sub? Don’t explode! Check out this emergency lesson plan instead.
- What Is in a Firework? (Royal Society of Chemistry)
Make your classroom pop and sparkle as students investigate two types of fireworks.
- Sizzling Science (Scientific American)
Outdoors in the dark is your new laboratory. What colors will you see?
- Fireworks in a Bottle (Exploratorium)
These liquid “fireworks” give you the splash of color without the fire. Create your own in the kitchen.
- Alka-Seltzer Fireworks (Maryland Science Center)
Use a fizzing reaction to create explosive art.
- How To Make Black Snakes or Glow Worms (Thought Co.)
Glow little glowworm, glow. Make your own fireworks with ingredients around the house.
- Design Your Own Fireworks Show (Royal Society of Chemistry)
Team up to create a simulated show. Can you make it spectacular (yet safe) and still come in under budget?
- Compound Interest—Firework Infographics
Get the scoop on colors, sound, metallic sparkle, explosions, plus the dark side of fireworks with these infographics.
- What's in Fireworks?
What makes those splashes of color in the sky? How have they changed through history?
- Fireworks Shower the Sky with Science (Science News for Students)
What does it take to successfully send up a world-record-breaking firework?
- Why Fireworks Are So Important to Science (Physics World)
Fireworks have been around for a long time. What made them special way back in history?
- Edible Fireworks (Wired)
These two modern day Willy Wonkas connected delicious tastes and smells to fireworks.
- Pyrotechnics for the Planet
“What goes up must come down.” How can we make fireworks safer for the environment?
- Festive Fireworks Create Harmful Pall of Pollution (Forbes)
Fireworks affect the air around us. How much? What can we do?
- The Science Behind Your Favorite Fireworks (Popular Mechanics)
Snap 'n' pops. Ground spinners. What gives these common fireworks their kick?
- Learn About... Fireworks! (Science is Fun)
Chemistry is a real blast! Learn which compounds give you which color, how to stay safe, and more.
- How Fireworks Work (How Stuff Works)
Check out what goes into a firework long before you see its explosive glow in the sky.
- Kaboom! (PBS)
Fire up your learning as you dissect the anatomy of a firework and its chemistry.
- I Didn't Know That: Fireworks (National Geographic)
Get up close and personal with the inner workings of a firework. Go behind the scenes where they're made.
- Fireworks Go Green (American Scientist)
You can send one up to the sky. But how can you do it without harming the environment?
- An Environmentally Friendly Firecracker? (New York Times)
They're trying to go green. Will they succeed?
(all sites accessed June 2020)