The secrets behind dazzling fireworks displays are yielding to scientific snooping. Similar principles are at work in devices ranging from the space shuttle to safety matches.





Read the first nine paragraphs of the article:


and decide if the sentences below are True or False?


1. The English monk Roger Bacon was made to reveal a formula for black powder to refute the allegations of him being a witcher.

2. Unless kept in dry conditions, black powder won’t get worse.

3. Sets of instructions for black powder have always been out in the open.

4. The pyrotechnic process resembles an act of burning.

5. Sugar is commonly used in pyrotechnics.

6. The intensity of pyrotechnic explosions was enhanced in the 19th century thanks to the use of charcoal.


Key: 1T; 2F; 3F; 4T; 5T; 6F



  • to yield – If you yield to someone or something, you stop resisting them
  • to snoop – watch, observe, or inquire secretly
  • muffled – a muffled sound is quiet or not clear
  • to tumble – to fall with a rolling or bouncing movement
  • ragged – having an irregular edge or outline
  • barrage – a vigorous or rapid outpouring or projection of many things at once
  • to unravel – to explain a mystery
  • propellant – a substance that causes something to move forwards
  • quarrying – the business, occupation, or act of extracting useful material (such as building stone) from a quarry (an open excavation usually for obtaining building stone, slate, or limestone
  • to cloak sth – to cover it or hide it


Practice makes perfect

Replace the words 1-8 in the article extract with the words in bold below:

captivated            grabbing           elevates          thumping

illuminates            flares           your heart skips a beat           finale

A brilliant flash of light, thunder, and color 1. lights up the dark, quiet sky. 2. You’re very excited as the show begins, instantly 3. attracting your attention and transporting you back to 6th grade when you got to stay up late and watch the fireworks with your Aunt Nancy. As the show continues, it settles into a rhythm of bangs and booms, sizzlers and 4. flashes. But just when you’re about to check your mobile phone, the climax begins. The pace increases, the intensity 6. grows, and you are once again 7. entranced as the show concludes with a heart- 8. pounding BANG.


You can read the whole article here: https://www.inc.com/josh-linkner/the-fireworks-principle-how-to-improve-any-pitch-presentation-or-meeting.html


Key: 1. illuminates; 2. your heart skips a beat; 3. grabbing; 4. flares; 5. finale; 6. elevates; 7. captivated; 8. thumping





  • What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘fireworks’?
  • Have you ever set off fireworks on your own?
  • What problems do fireworks cause?
  • What do you make of the silent alternative of fireworks?



Fireworks are in the eye of the beholder.