Static Electricity or Not?

Background: Materials are made from different types of atoms and combination of atoms. The different combinations gives the materials different electrical properties. When putting together 2 objects the electrons are forced to interact together. When they interact they build a charge. Some items have electrons that pass and connect easier than others creating a larger charge. Conductors allow the electrons to pass through very easily, while insulators allow electrons to pass which much difficulty.

Materials:

  • Rice Krispies
  • Balloons
  • Salt
  • Paper
  • Foil
  • Wool
  • Styrofoam
  • Seeds
  • Water
  • Static Electricity Recording Sheet for children
  • Large blow up copy for instructor to record

Lesson: We will explore static electricity by charging a balloon and seeing if the electrons interact easily or difficult with other materials. We will explain by stating all materials have electrons and can interact with other electrons.

Activity:

  1. Rub a balloon on the piece of wool and get the electrons charged.
  2. Explain the balloon has created a negative charge with rubbing while the Rice Krispies still have a positive charge of electrons. They should interact strongly because they are opposites.
  3. Explain all materials have electrons but some can interact their electrons better than others. Introduce insulators and conductors. Conductors allow energy to flow through easily then insulators.
  4. Pass out Static Electricity handout
  5. Charge all the items one by one and see if they interact easily or with difficulty
  6. Record your results, be sure to make prediction