Some Uses of Fire: Teacher's Notes
Activity: Fire in Our Lives
Safety: First and Foremost
- If you choose to illustrate any of the principles shown on the webpages as demonstrations or as hands-on activities, it's essential to follow all safety precautions to the utmost. Students may need to be reminded that burns are painful and can be disfiguring, and trying these types of experiments can be very dangerous. It is our hope that in providing video footage the students will be able to see the chemistry and learn from it without any risk whatsoever.
We offer this site as an educational tool. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY INJURY OR DAMAGE CAUSED TO ANY PERSON, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, RELATING TO ANY OF THE DEMOS OR EXPERIMENTS LISTED AT THIS SITE. YOU ARE WHOLLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SAFETY.
- Wear safety goggles at all times.
- Provide a safety shield for protection of the students and of you.
- Perform all experiments and demonstrations in a well-ventilated area, in open, still air. (That is, if you do this outdoors, a breezy day can be unpredictable and hazardous.)
- Never ignite anything in a sealed or closed container.
- To understand the important uses of fire (combustion) in everyday life.
- To examine the sources of the fuels that we use for energy.
- To have students be aware and observant of the role that combustion processes play in their lives.
National Science Education Standards: Content Standards
This activity fulfills the following within the Content Standards: 9-12
- Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry
- Content Standard B: Physical Science
- There are no materials required. This activity involves reading and understanding the
content presented on the student pages and having the students examine the various uses of energy in their homes.
- Have the students carefully read the content pages.
The students should examine the items on the list below and determine what sources of energy (i.e., wood, natural gas, etc.) are used for each.
- Your water heater
- Your furnance
- Your fireplace (if you have one)
- Your outdoor BBQ (if you have one)
- Any other use (except electricity - we'll do that next
Where does your electricity come from?
Have the students go to the web and
You may suggest finding and searching the U.S. Department of Energy Site
- find out how much (or what percentage of) electricity in the United States is produced from:
- Natural Gas
- Other sources that do not involve burning something (such as nuclear, wind, hydroelectric)
- Find out how your local electricity is produced
- Find out how the amount of energy used in the U.S. compares to other countries
- Arrange a tour of a local power generating plant.
- Have the students investigate and discuss the products of combustion. This can be used as an introduction to
environmental topics such as carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen and acid rain.
- The students can compare the amount of energy consumed in the United States and other industrialized nations to the energy usage in less
- This exercise and be used to start a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of using fossil fuels.