Welcome to my Professional Learning blog.
My name is Matt Nicoll and I am a high school teacher in New Zealand, interested in improving the classroom experience for my students. I am open to trialing new approaches and hope to use this blog to reflect on my ideas and practices.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Flame Colours with Year 4

With the seniors gone, I invited 4TMF from our Preparatory School to spend a lesson with me in the laboratory. They had been looking at trends and patterns throughout the year, and Guy Fawkes night has recently passed. Therefore, Penny (their enthusiastic teacher) and I decided to look at the patterns used to make different colours, particularly in fireworks.

The first lesson was more teacher-directed, followed by a chance for the students to "play" with some of the chemicals, seeing which colours they observe:

Penny made some fabulous laminated SOLO Describe+ Maps for the students, so they could record the colours as we went.

The second lesson is yet to be done at the time of writing. The plan is to give the students a variety of salts to heat. Penny has made more laminated record sheets. The students record the name (cation + anion) and the colour(s) of the respective flame.

The students then need to "relate" the colours they observe to the name. For example, I expect both copper salts to make a blue/green flame. Therefore, maybe it is the copper that makes those chemicals create that flame colour...?

Here are some of the flames:

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