Fireworks! - Keynote Builds For a New Year’s Start

 Our students finish up first semester exams this week before heading off for a winter break.  As we head back to school right after the New Year it might be time to set off some fireworks.  

Fireworks animation

If you teach history here  is another opportunity to engage students in historic research and creativity (as well as to celebrate coming back to school!) Start the celebration by animating a primary source fireworks photo and challenging students to learn more about an event.  It’s a good way to introduce students to perspective, point of view and purpose of primary sources using creativity as the driver into inquiry.

Keynote Builds (Build in or Build out) has a fun array of animations that can be added to images. To easily create and post an animated gif of fireworks, use Builds which you’ll find when you tap an added Keynote image and then Animation in Keynote iOS. Here are the steps I’ve used:

  1. Find a fireworks primary source (check the Library of Congress Flickr site or National Archives).
  2. Add that photo onto a Keynote slide, then duplicate the slide
  3. On the duplicated slide, use Edit Mask to reduce the image to just the shot of the firework explosion. Then copy/paste the “firework” on to slide 1
  4. Now tap your pasted firework and select Animation/Build in/ Fireworks. You can adjust your Build under Animation
  5. Export Slide 1 as an Animated Gif, or Movie then Save to Photos to add to websites, or Keynote decks.

Think about other Builds you can add to primary sources to make them come alive for students. They’ll also want to create their own.

Here are some sample primary sources from the Library of Congress with added Keynote fireworks animations:

Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary fireworks in San Francisco, California - Library of Congress
Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary fireworks in San Francisco, California - Library of Congress

Family Day on the grounds of the Alabama River Pulp Company in Claiborne, Alabama - Library of Congress
Family Day on the grounds of the Alabama River Pulp Company in Claiborne, Alabama - Library of Congress

Fireworks above the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City - Library of Congress
Fireworks above the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City - Library of Congress

Foshay Tower dedication fireworks as seen from the parade, more than a mile away - Library of Congress
Foshay Tower dedication fireworks as seen from the parade, more than a mile away - Library of Congress

Fireworks lighting up the night sky near the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument, Washington, D.C. - Library of Congress
Fireworks lighting up the night sky near the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument, Washington, D.C. - Library of Congress


  1. Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary fireworks in San Francisco, California Creator(s): Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
  2. Family Day on the grounds of the Alabama River Pulp Company in Claiborne, Alabama Creator(s): Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
  3. Fireworks above the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City] Creator(s): Gotfryd, Bernard, photographer Date Created/Published: [May 24] 1983
  4. Photograph shows fireworks above an illuminated skyscraper at night, designed by Leon Arnal. Gunsolley, Verne V., photographer, Arnal, Leon E., 1880-1963, architect [Minneapolis, Minneapolis] Jun 26, 1933.
  5. Fireworks lighting up the night sky near the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.] Creator(s): Keating, Maureen, photographer Date Created/Published: [4 July 1995]
Tagged in: Social Sciences, Social Studies, History, Keynote

All Comments

Posted on December 27, 2022

It's certainly a Happy New Year when you start it with Keynote! Great activity!

Posted on December 28, 2022

😀 - Thanks Katie!

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