Explosive chemistry academy lets kids create fireworks

Greenbush service center offers hands-on learning
Explosive chemistry academy lets kids create fireworks

Usually kids are warned not to play with fireworks but exactly the opposite is happening at the Greenbush Education Center. Middle school kids are even making their own fireworks at the Explosive Chemistry Academy.

“It’s four teaspoons of powdered sugar, one teaspoon of baking soda,” Kenzie Heatherly goes through what sounds like a cake recipe but add a sprits of alcohol and a lighter and the faces of kids like Isabella Walsh light up with excitement. They’re create their own exploding snakes.

Isabella said, “It’skind of cool. We use it for baking and you can think of it, you’re eating something that could explode. It’s kind of cool.”

Joey Flessner exclaimed, “I love this camp! It’s really fun.”

They dissect snappers or poppers by unwrapping or cutting them open.
And they disassembled cracklers to find “pieces of silver fulmates,” explained Heatherly.

They even learned how to create smoke rings using a trash can with a hole, topped by a shower curtain filled with smoke bomb smoke.
But Heatherly adds in the chemistry behind smoke bomb colors.
“It’s not just a special dye or anything that goes into fireworks. It’s actually a chemical that creates those colors in fireworks. So stortium, if you put that in there, it turns it red. If you put copper in, it turns it blue.”

Heatherly demonstrated how a ping pong ball disintegrates on fire to show kids that science is more than a textbook. And sheeven adds a little history.

Isabella told us, “And they’re (fireworks) interesting.They were used in war and as decorations and celebrations.”

Isabella’s already a fan of science but she said it’s a great way to get other kids excited about chemistry. “Yeah, because Greenbush has a lot of fun things that make it entertaining, instead of boring like school.”

Joey admits, “It makes me like science better and I’m learning that science is pretty fun and science really cool.”

The academy kids also tie dyed t-shirts and made ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

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