Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Electric Jumpers - More Fun With Static Electricity

Playing with static electricity is a lot fun - from bending water, to making cereal dance, or even lighting a florescent tube.

We have a new favorite static electricity activity though, from Neil Ardley's 101 great science experiments, a step-by-step guide.

Instead of making puffed rice cereal jump with a static charged balloon, cut little men out of paper (we just used regular computer paper).

Rub a balloon, vigorously, on your hair to collect extra electrons (this is called the triboelectric effect).

Then, pass the balloon over the neutrally charged men (meaning the atoms in the paper have the same number of protons, and electrons), and watch them dance, spin, stand on their heads...

...and even jump up, and cling to the balloon, as they are attracted to the negatively charged balloon.

At least, I think I got all that right. If you really want to know what's going on with static electricity, check out, for a kid friendly explanation.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Phyllis said...

We have done it with just confetti before, but I'll bet it is more fun with little men! Funny how a little change like that will make it more fun!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I am sure the girls were fascinated. I loved doing it as a kid - it truly seemed like magic and made me dream of building a giant machine to make real people fly :)

Debbie said...

These simple experiments are always so fun. I remember doing this as a kid. I need to pick up some balloons. We kept these type balloons out of the house when Selena was younger for the choking fear, now she is old enough to have them, I just need to remember to pick some up.