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supported by the National Science Foundation
published by the WGBH Educational Foundation
This multimedia instructional module features a visually rich way to tie together chemical reaction, combustion, and the nature of fire. It includes two short videos and four interactive Flash simulations that explore pyrotechnics, the science of fire, anatomy of fireworks, and the mechanics of lifting charge.

Editor's Note: This module addresses a number of national science standards in a fun and engaging way. The pyrotechnics section will spark discussion about chemical reactions, while the lesson on fireworks color will address interactions at an atomic level (specific color results when atoms of a certain element or combination of elements are energized by the firework's heat.)

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Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
Thermo & Stat Mech
- Thermal Properties of Matter
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Demonstration
= Interactive Simulation
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Problem/Problem Set
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
© 2009 WGBH
chemical reaction, combustibility, combustion reaction, fire, fireworks, fireworks simulation, flammability, heat transfer, pyrotechnic simulation, thermal expansion
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created June 26, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
July 3, 2015 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
May 4, 2009

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3A. Technology and Science
  • 6-8: 3A/M3. Engineers, architects, and others who engage in design and technology use scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. They also usually have to take human values and limitations into account.
3B. Design and Systems
  • 3-5: 3B/E2. Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be entirely eliminated.

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 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/M11. Substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other substances to form new substances with different characteristic properties.
  • 9-12: 4D/H7b. An enormous variety of biological, chemical, and physical phenomena can be explained by changes in the arrangement and motion of atoms and molecules.
  • 9-12: 4D/H9a. The rate of reactions among atoms and molecules depends on how often they encounter one another, which is affected by the concentration, pressure, and temperature of the reacting materials.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 9-12: 4E/H4. Chemical energy is associated with the configuration of atoms in molecules that make up a substance. Some changes of configuration require a net input of energy whereas others cause a net release.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
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Record Link
AIP Format
(WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2009), WWW Document, (https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.lp_fireworks/igniting-chemistry-in-fireworks/).
PBS Learning Media: Igniting Chemistry in Fireworks, (WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2009), <https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.lp_fireworks/igniting-chemistry-in-fireworks/>.
APA Format
PBS Learning Media: Igniting Chemistry in Fireworks. (2009, May 4). Retrieved December 3, 2020, from WGBH Educational Foundation: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.lp_fireworks/igniting-chemistry-in-fireworks/
Chicago Format
National Science Foundation. PBS Learning Media: Igniting Chemistry in Fireworks. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, May 4, 2009. https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.lp_fireworks/igniting-chemistry-in-fireworks/ (accessed 3 December 2020).
MLA Format
PBS Learning Media: Igniting Chemistry in Fireworks. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 2009. 4 May 2009. National Science Foundation. 3 Dec. 2020 <https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.lp_fireworks/igniting-chemistry-in-fireworks/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PBS Learning Media: Igniting Chemistry in Fireworks}, Publisher = {WGBH Educational Foundation}, Volume = {2020}, Number = {3 December 2020}, Month = {May 4, 2009}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%T PBS Learning Media: Igniting Chemistry in Fireworks
%D May 4, 2009
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%C Boston
%U https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.lp_fireworks/igniting-chemistry-in-fireworks/
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D May 4, 2009
%T PBS Learning Media: Igniting Chemistry in Fireworks
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%V 2020
%N 3 December 2020
%8 May 4, 2009
%9 application/flash
%U https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.lp_fireworks/igniting-chemistry-in-fireworks/

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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.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

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