There is a more interesting activity to explain how fireworks are made, without actually exposing the students to greater risk. ( I have to say greater because there is still a risk doing this practical.) How do fireworks create that spectacular fountain of colours and amazed young and old alike. The gorgeous exploding mixture of purples and reds, blues, yellows, greens, lilac, is just a salt away. Chemistry has loads to offer when it comes to interesting activities, and this is one of those.
Sparklers and fireworks contain metal compounds. These compounds give them the different colours that you see in firework displays. Prepare some of the following metal compounds and try it first before you do this activity in the laboratory. Also, soak wooden splints in a beaker.
The salts are listed below and opposite are the corresponding colours it gives.
Magnesium bright white
Sodium salts yellow
Copper(II) chloride turquoise
Lithium carbonate red
Barium carbonated green
Lead nitrate lilac
Using the wet end of the wooden splint, dip it into the powder/salt and place it unto the blue part of the Bunsen burner flame. Observe the different colours produced by different compounds.
Note: You can also try testing solutions out of the same compounds.