Chemistry Labs Provide Hands-on Learning

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Travis Funderburk Lights the Fuse

Fireworks were seen at Liberty Christian – and it wasn’t the Fourth of July! Sophomores discovered the role of elements and compounds in firework displays in their chemistry class.

“Mixing and burning secret recipes for fireworks excited my students, and excited students are more apt to learn!” said chemistry teacher Kathy Hall.

The fireworks formulations involved were full of elements, compounds, and proprietary (secret) ingredients obtained through contacts Hall made at a seminar she attended on the chemistry of fireworks.

Students mixed small amounts of several different firework recipes and then ignited them safely in the fume hood of the lab.

The lesson included macroscopic observations of pyrotechnic reactions and how they related to the electromagnetic spectrum and the wave nature of light.

This pyrotechnic lab is a custom lab designed especially for Liberty chemistry students and is not found in a traditional lab book.

Hall said, “I jump at any opportunity to make an exciting connection between what my students learn in the classroom and their lives outside of school.”

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