Sunday, January 2, 2011

Static Electricity and Balloons

Static Electricity Balloon Demonstration

Vocabulary: positive charges, negative charges, attract (to move close together), repel (to move away)

Materials: 2 balloons, 2 pieces of string, (piece of wool - optional)

An object generally has the same number of positive and negative charges.
An object can lose negative charges and thus become positively charged.
  • When 2 positively charged objects are brought close to each other they will REPEL each other. (The same will happen to 2 negatively charged objects.)
  • When a positively charged object is brought close to a negatively charged object they will ATTRACT each other.
This can be demonstrated with 2 balloons each tied to a piece of string.

Try rubbing a balloon(s) with a piece of wool. This will remove negative charges from the wool and add them to the balloon(s) making the balloon(s) negatively charged.

Give the kids time to experiment and work with the balloons as they try to make the balloons attract and repel each other.

After the activity, children can sketch and label pictures of the balloons attracting and repelling in their science notebooks. Older students can write a summary explaining what causes the balloons to attract or repel.

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