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CAUTION: Strict supervision must be exercised in this project.

This will be fun. We will all know how to tell if our table salt is on fire!

Straighten a paper clip and make a small loop at one end to hold stuff.

Use a pair of pliers to hold the paper clip (at the unlooped end) so that the looped end is in a flame. If the flame changes color, it will mean that the paper clip is not clean. Holding the paper clip in the flame for a bit will clean it, then the color of the flame will be the same as it was before the dirty paper clip was held in the flame.

Now, dip the loop into some table salt so that some sticks to it.

Now, when you put the loop back into the flame, the color will change again. Why do you think that is?

Brilliant scientists have learned that certain metallic elements burn with characteristic colors.

For instance, sodium is a metallic element that burns with a characteristic yellow color.

Table salt is made of sodium and chlorine (NaCl). Chlorine is not metallic, but sodium is, and that is what changes the color of the flame.

Now we can test other materials containing metallic elements and develop a table indicating the characteristic flame color of each.

(Materials containing the elements can be obtained from most drug stores.)

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