Static Electricity: Electrical charges caused by frictionFriction: a force caused when one object rubs against another
Creating Static Electricity
Materials Needed: balloons, combs, piece of wool (old sock or sweater), piece of paper, very small pieces of paper, plastic ruler, (camera - optional), (sugar, pepper - optional)
Before each activity have students PREDICT what they think will happen.
- Blow up a few balloons for the kids! Have the kids rub the balloons on their heads (and watch their hair stand up.) This is always good for a few laughs! Also have the camera ready!
- Again, have the kids rub the balloons on their heads, then see if the balloons will stick to a wall.
- Tear a sheet of paper into small pieces. Rub a piece of wool quickly back and forth on a balloon. Hold the balloon near the paper. (See what other light objects the balloon will pick up....sugar, pepper, etc.)
- Rub plastic combs with wool. Then have the kids comb their hair with the combs.
- Rub a plastic comb with wool. Then place the comb near a piece of paper.
- Tear a sheet of paper into small pieces. Rub a piece of wool quickly back and forth over a comb (or ruler). Hold the comb (or ruler) over the paper.
- Turn on the faucet. Rub a comb with a piece of wool. Bring the comb near the water but do not touch the water. (Watch the water bend!)
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- Did they ever walk across a rug, then touch a metal doorknob? (Did they feel a zap?)
- Did they ever take socks out of an electric dryer and have the socks stick together?
- Did they ever come in from outside on a cold day and quickly pull their hats off? (What happened to their hair?)
Have students sketch pictures of their static electricity experiments in their science notebooks. Older students should write a description of their experiments.