Chemistry Lab Flame Tests

Grade Levels
9th - 12th
Formats Included
  • Zip
7 pages
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  1. Great lab experiences are the key to a successful chemistry or physical science course. Spice up your class by having your students perform these 15 "Must-Do" chemistry and/or physical science labs. These labs cover density, conservation of mass, stoichiometry, percent composition, periodic trends,
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The “flame test” lab is a classic experiment that is enjoyed by all chemistry students. Students absolutely love this lab, and it is a great way to review and reinforce the concepts of electrons, excited state, ground state, and the visible spectrum.


Please Note: This lab is included in a money-saving bundle of labs called "15 Must-Do Physical Science and Chemistry Labs." Click this link to view the bundle.


Purpose of the Lab:

  • To observe the characteristic colors produced by metallic ions when heated in a flame.
  • To identify an unknown metallic ion by means of its flame test.

What is this lab about?

When atoms of elements are heated to high temperatures, some electrons may absorb enough energy to allow them to move to higher energy levels. The electrons quickly return to their positions of lower energy or their ground state. As the electrons return to their ground state, the energy that was absorbed is given off in the form of visible light. The color of this light can be used to identify the elements involved. In a flame test, the element will give off a characteristic color that serves as a simple method of identification of that element. In this lab, students will conduct flame tests of several known elements, and then will try to identify an unknown element by its flame test.

Materials List:

  • Bunsen burner
  • Lab apron
  • Safety goggles
  • Wood Splints
  • Test Tubes
  • Cobalt glass squares
  • Test Tube Racks
  • Nitrate solutions of sodium, potassium, lithium, calcium, strontium, barium, and copper.

What will the students be doing?

  • Students will carry out this classic chemistry lab by placing metallic ions into a Bunsen burner flame to see the characteristic colors emitted by each metallic ion.
  • Students will develop a reference table of the colors emitted by 7 metallic ions: Sodium, potassium, lithium, calcium, strontium, barium, and copper.
  • Students will use their reference table to identify unknown solutions of ions.
  • Students will use cobalt glass as a tool for identifying the components of a metallic salt mixture.
  • Students will evaluate the usefulness of using this method of metal identification.
  • Students will answer 7 analysis questions to complete the lab.
  • This lab reviews and reinforces the concepts of electrons, electron configurations, energy levels of electrons, excited states, ground states, and the visible spectrum.

What is included in this product?

  • Editable lab handouts that are ready to be printed and passed out to your students. (3-page student handout.)
  • Complete instructions.
  • 4-page Teacher Guide containing tips, tricks, and suggestions.
  • •Complete Answer Key containing sample data and all answers.
  • Everything you need for the successful completion of this lab.

Related resources include the following:

Atoms and Atomic Structure Task Cards

Electron Configuration Study Guide / Homework

Electron Configuration Quiz

Electron Configuration Unit Test

Quantum Mechanics Worksheet

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Total Pages
7 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
55 minutes
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