Explosive educational opportunity on
Story and images from efg2.com
Take a few minutes to use the fireworks
as an opportunity to teach your children something about
Fireworks are big, in addition to being
beautiful and noisy. The following exercise will help you and
your children calculate the actual size of those big bursts of
fire in the sky.
Keys to the exercise are range, angle and
a simple mathematical calculation.
So build the astrolabe and start your
budding Edwin Hubble off on the exploration of science.
* Count the number of seconds elapsed
from the instant you see the light of a firework until you
hear the sound. "One thousand one, one thousand two and so
* Estimate the angle in degrees as shown
Making a simple astrolabe
Since estimating angles is difficult,
make a simple astrolabe to measure the angles. You will need
1. six-inch plastic protractor (with
2. plastic drinking straw
3. piece of string or heavy thread about
two feet long
4. large paper clip or binder clip for a
5. some tape
To make the astrolabe, follow these
1. Tape the drinking straw to the
straight-edge part of the protractor.
2. Make a loop with the string that
passes through the hole in the protractor.
3. Attach the two ends of the string
together and to the paper clip weight.
* Take measurements with the astrolabe of
both the top and bottom of the firework explosion.
* The difference between the measurements
is the angle of the firework.
* Use the math formula below to calculate
the size of the fireworks. Just plug your numbers in the
size[feet] ~ 20 x time[seconds] x
Remember the time in seconds times 20
times the angle in degrees gives you an approximate size for
the firework burst.
Have fun and enjoy the Fourth.