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Chemistry of Fireworks

Fireworks in the sky

   

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?

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  • 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?

Articles

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  • 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)