The Dragonflies wonderful science workshop on fireworks

The Dragonflies (Year Two) enjoyed a wonderful science workshop with Dr Horn today – they were learning about the science behind the pretty fireworks, loud bangs and flying rockets.

Dr Horn told us that fireworks need three important things.  The first thing they need is fuel – that is the gunpowder.

Fireworks also need colours.  Dr Horn showed us how different chemicals could make different colours – he sprinkled different powders into the flame of a Bunsen burner and we watched the flame change colour.  Copper made the flame turn green; lithium made it turn a pinky-red; calcium made it turn orange and sodium made it turn yellow.  Dr Horn tested our science skills by secretly filling balloons with chemicals and putting them on the flame – as they exploded we saw a flash of colour and we had to guess the chemical he had used.. it was very fun! 

Louis was given a sparkler to hold while Dr Horn sprinkled iron filings on the flame – the sparkles looked the same so we quickly realised that sparklers contained iron. Josie held some iron wool in the flame and it was sparkled in the flame – just like the iron filings – but not so much, Josie observed, “because it is all fluffy” – clever girl!

We had learnt about the fuel (gunpowder) and the colours (the chemicals) and we discovered the final important part of a firework, the movement.  

Dr Horn used George and Jamie to demonstrate Isaac Newton’s theory of Conservation of Momentum (yes we are that clever!).  The two boys sat on wooden trolleys and pushed each other away – each child then rolling backwards on their trolley – that’s how rockets fly into the air, the rocket fire pushes down and the rocket flies up!

Because scientists need to test everything at least twice, we repeated the experiment with Mya and Greta – and then Mrs Pickles and Olivia – each time making predictions about what we thought would happen.

Dr Horn demonstrated how a rocket flies with a very exciting experiment, pushing air into a bottle and sending it whizzing across a wire.  It travelled over 250 miles per hour across the room – it was so thrilling to watch!

Now the children knew how rockets worked Dr Horn took them outside to see real fireworks in action!  He lit each rocket and the children successfully named the chemical that that created the wonderful colour as it exploded into the air.  We gathered quite a crowd!

We had a most exciting afternoon of science, we are so grateful to Dr Horn (ably assisted by Mr Wright) for creating such a thrilling and informative science lesson.