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My daughter and I were driving home at night when she saw them. “Fireworks!” she exclaimed. And there they were, bursting over the fairgrounds. No matter how often I see them, it’s still exciting. Boom! Boom! Boom! Today’s recommendations are for everyone who just can’t get enough of those summertime fireworks.
Create Your Own Fireworks Show
No, I am not advocating creating a fireworks display in your back yard. These fireworks will be an online creation. First choose your skyline: Will your pyrotechnics explode over Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. or Little Rock? Then choreograph your explosions by choosing from four sizes and four colors. Under options, you can choose whether to have the music on or off, and whether the default fireworks display will run automatically. This bit of fun requires the free Shockwave plug-in.
National Council on Fireworks Safety
The National Council on Fireworks Safety has an excellent safety tip slide show on viewing and purchasing legal fireworks. For an animated, interactive safety lesson, click on Classroom, where you’ll also find a printable safety quiz. Although details on local ordinances are not included, you can learn about your state fireworks laws by clicking on (non-surprisingly) State Laws. If you’re in search of safety statistics (“Over the past 10 years, 30-33 percent of the injuries associated with fireworks have typically been caused by illegal explosives or homemade fireworks.”) the council provides a dozen PDF documents on the topic.
Nova Online: Fireworks!
This PBS site is my educational pick of the day. Start your tour with Name That Shell, where you’ll learn to differentiate a dahlia from a peony (we’re not talking gardening here.) Next is Anatomy of a Firework, which explains each firework component from the lift charge (gunpowder to hurl the firework shell) to the breaks (separate cardboard containers of stars.) The site concludes with a fabulous interactive science lesson about combustion titled On Fire. A Teachers Guide for grades five through twelve is also included.
Pyrotechnics – The Art of Fire
Pyrotechnics is a combination of art and science. Finnish chemist Petri Pihko, began his chemical career at the age of ten. Chemicals for his kitchen laboratory were expensive and hard to find, so he formed a Chemistry Club. Today, as a graduate student, pyrotechnics is one of his hobbies. This site is a collection of all that he loves about fireworks. For science buffs, the don’t-miss-it click is Petri’s explanation of the physics of colored fireworks (http://cc.oulu.fi/~kempmp/colours.html).
Zambelli Desktop Dynamite
The Zambelli family tradition of fireworks began when Antonio Zambelli left Italy in 1893 to establish the Zambelli Fireworks Manufacturing Company in New Castle Pennsylvania. The Desktop Dynamite section of their commercial fireworks site offers free a fireworks Windows screensaver, a variety of fireworks photos for use as wallpaper, and a five question fireworks quiz.