Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.
Fireworks capture our attention with their beautiful colors and controlled explosions, both of which link directly to fundamental concepts taught in basic chemistry classes. The media resources featured in this lesson provide a visually rich way to tie together spectral chemistry, combustion, and the nature of fire. Students watch a video segment and read text about the color of fireworks (particularly useful when following a chemistry lab in which powders of elements are placed over a flame to observe their spectral emission). They also watch a video segment and do an interactive activity on the mechanics of a firework, which leads to optional interactive activities for those wanting a slightly more advanced chemistry lesson involving chemical reactions. They wrap up by viewing video segments of many different types of fireworks and explaining the principles of chemistry and pyrotechnics that create all their glory.
For those doing the Pyrotechnics: It's Elemental and On Fire interactive activities:
(9-12, if more advanced interactive activities are used)
For more advanced study
Many chemistry and physical science classes use the flame test to investigate the characteristic properties of elements. Fireworks are a wonderful application of this phenomenon. The principles of oxidation and combustion, which are the basis for fireworks, also apply to fire, redox reactions, and the functioning of gasoline engines.
1. Start with a discussion about the last firework display students saw. Ask:
2. Show the Fireworks! Making Color video and discuss the following:
For more advanced classes, lead students in a discussion about the actual process in which electrons become excited and then drop energy levels to create specific spectral lines. Ask:
3. Show the Fireworks! Lifting Charge video and discuss the following:
4. Have students do the Anatomy of a Firework interactive activity. They can choose a section of the firework and determine its function. If time and supplies permit, you may want to have students work in groups to build a model firework at this point and have them describe the function of each component.
5. Have students read the Pyrotechnically Speaking document. Follow the reading with a synthesis discussion on how particular elements determine the color of a firework and how the structure of a firework determines its shape and timing. Revisit the student predictions from steps 2 and 3 about advances in firework technology. How do they compare with Dr. Conkling's ideas for the future of pyrotechnics?
(optional for more advanced chemistry content)
6. Based on their experience with particular elements, have students predict which ones are used to make the different colors of fireworks. Have them use the Pyrotechnics: It's Elemental interactive activity to check their predictions.
7. Have students do the On Fire interactive activity. For each investigation, have them identify the key chemical principles that lead to fire: oxidation, combustion, and chain reactions, and have them explain what chemical reactions are involved.
8. Have students work as a group on the Name That Shell Interactive interactive activity. Let them have some fun as they identify their favorite firework, and ask them to explain how it is created. In particular, they may be able to name the element that creates its color, the shape of the "star" that is used to create the shape of the firework, and/or how many stages are needed to create the timing of the firework.
Have students discuss the following: