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published by the Public Broadcasting Service and the WGBH Educational Foundation
Explore the basics of combustion in this NOVA-created interactive resource appropriate for grades 8-12. It contains a set of simulations that promote understanding of how fire ignites and how chemical reactions rearrange the molecules of burning material. In the first simulation, users drag atoms to initiate hydrogen gas combustion. In the second simulation, students "break apart" a methane molecule, then drag individual atoms to form three new molecules: two water and one carbon dioxide.

Don't miss the related links on the anatomy of a firework and an interactive temperature scale ranging from absolute zero to the theoretical "highest possible temperature".
Subjects Levels Resource Types
General Physics
- Properties of Matter
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
Thermo & Stat Mech
- Thermal Properties of Matter
= Low Temperatures
- High School
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
- Reference Material
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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© 2008 WGBH Educational Foundation
absolute hot, bonding, chemical bonds, chemical reaction, chemistry of burning, chemistry simulation, molecular structure, states of matter
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created June 23, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
June 23, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
February 1, 2008

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 3-5: 4D/E6. All materials have certain physical properties, such as strength, hardness, flexibility, durability, resistance to water and fire, and ease of conducting heat.
  • 6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
  • 6-8: 4D/M5. Chemical elements are those substances that do not break down during normal laboratory reactions involving such treatments as heating, exposure to electric current, or reaction with acids. All substances from living and nonliving things can be broken down to a set of about 100 elements, but since most elements tend to combine with others, few elements are found in their pure form.
  • 6-8: 4D/M6b. An important kind of reaction between substances involves the combination of oxygen with something elseā€”as in burning or rusting.
  • 6-8: 4D/M13. The idea of atoms explains chemical reactions: When substances interact to form new substances, the atoms that make up the molecules of the original substances combine in new ways.
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Public Broadcasting Service, Arlington, 2008), WWW Document, (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/science-fire.html).
NOVA: The Science of Fire (Public Broadcasting Service, Arlington, 2008), <https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/science-fire.html>.
APA Format
NOVA: The Science of Fire. (2008, February 1). Retrieved December 8, 2023, from Public Broadcasting Service: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/science-fire.html
Chicago Format
Public Broadcasting Service. NOVA: The Science of Fire. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, February 1, 2008. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/science-fire.html (accessed 8 December 2023).
MLA Format
NOVA: The Science of Fire. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2008. 1 Feb. 2008. 8 Dec. 2023 <https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/science-fire.html>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {NOVA: The Science of Fire}, Publisher = {Public Broadcasting Service}, Volume = {2023}, Number = {8 December 2023}, Month = {February 1, 2008}, Year = {2008} }
Refer Export Format

%T NOVA: The Science of Fire %D February 1, 2008 %I Public Broadcasting Service %C Arlington %U https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/science-fire.html %O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D February 1, 2008 %T NOVA: The Science of Fire %I Public Broadcasting Service %V 2023 %N 8 December 2023 %8 February 1, 2008 %9 application/flash %U https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/science-fire.html

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

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