Flaming torches

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

14-18 yrs old


Different chemical compounds will emit different waves lengths of light when burned. This can be simulated in MinecraftEDU chemistry add in.

avatar Submitted By: Rachel Chisnall

June 21, 2018

Learning Objectives

  • Learning about emission spectra of chloride salts

Guiding Ideas

When constructing elements - why do the number of protons and electrons have to be the same, but the number of neutrons can be different? How many electrons fit in each orbital/shell? How does this match up to the periodic table

When constructing compounds - why do different elements make a compound with different numbers of chlorine atoms? How many electrons are required to 'fill' the outer shells

When flame testing - why are different colours produced? Where is this seen? (fireworks) How else can it be used (soil testing etc)

Student Activities

Students can make a range of torches in Minecraft by creating the required elements in the element constructor , then making compounds in the compound creator. These chloride salts can then be crafted with torches to provide torches with different colours of flames


These torches can be replicated in real life by using cotton wool wrapped around glass rods (Or dampened bamboo skewers) and then briefly soaked in methanol with chloride salts dissolved in them.

(NB Mercuric chloride in particular is toxic and should not be used, especially by younger students without proper safety considerations. An alternative, such as Strontium Chloride that also produced a red flame, can be used.)

'Common salts' that produce coloured flames are Copper Chloride - Blue. Copper sulfate - Green. Borax (often used for making slime) - Orange. Sodium chloride (table salt)- yellow. These can often be picked up in supermarkets or pharmacies.

Performance Expectations

Students learn about the atomic structure of different elements required - which can be more or less explicit depending on the age of the learner. NB For senior chemistry students, they element constructor does not show s,p,d electron configuration.

Students understand different compounds require different ratios of elements.

Students understand that different electron arrangements on elements result in different emission spectra, or different coloured flames


  • Creativity

External References