Teaching with anime- Fairy Tail and the flame test
There is a popular chemistry lab called the flame test. The flame test is rather simple:
1- place a small metal loop into a solution containing metal ions
2- take the solution-soaked loop and place it into a Bunsen burner flame
3- observe how the color of the flame briefly changes
The test is observing the emission spectrum of the metal ions. An emission spectrum is the light that is emitted by a compound or element. It can be broken down further by using a prism or polarized lens to appear as bands of color instead of a single color as seen above.
This is, of course more complex, and not something that is often done in a high school chemistry lab. The reason that light is emitted by a substance or element when heated is that the energy causes the electrons to jump to a higher energy state, and when the electron returns to normal its normal state it emits light.
But you didn’t come here for all of that, you came here to see how you can use the flame test, which is often used as an example of physical properties in class. The way I often see this test used is as a practical application of emission spectra, and physical properties. It is then expanded on by giving the students an unknown solution and having the students determine what is in the solution based on the color it gives off during the flame test. Instead of or in addition to that, you could have the students try to determine what substances you would need to add to a solution to create a flame of a particular color.
Flame Test Worksheet
Clearly creating flames using magic is impossible, but it is possible to make flames of different colors using real world chemistry.
1- Is this is a physical or chemical property?
2- What is an emission spectrum?
3- Why do substances give off light when heated?
4- Can an emission spectrum be used to identify an unknown substance?
5- Determine if it is possible to replicate the flame color from the various types of flame magic in Fairy Tail. If it is possible, explain which element you would use to create the color.
Fire Dragon Roar- red fire
Zancrow’s Fire- black fire
Zera’s Fire- orange fire
Romeo’s Rainbow Fire- yeah, it’s green fire
Romeo’s Yellow Fire
Flames of Rebuke
6- How does the flame test apply to fireworks?
Flame Test Worksheet over
I’ve finally done it. I now have an anime-based lab activity. It’s not much but it could make an interesting extension to the more traditional flame test activities. If you have any thoughts or ideas about this activity, I would love to hear them.