Hi kids, parents, and teachers! Science projects and experiments can be fun. However, be sure to always have a parent or teacher supervising to make sure things are safe!
Science Experiment: Static Electricity
Purpose: This experiment helps develop scientific inquiry skills and investigates the properties of static electricity and charge. For more information on static electricity and charge go to Electricity for Kids.
- sheet of glass greater than or equal to 10" x 5" (window pane, a shallow bowl turned upside down)
- plastic bag with zipper lock
- 2 thick books (encyclopedia or school textbook)
- small pieces of paper (hole-punched paper bits or tissue paper)
- plastic foam (egg carton material)
- science journal
- metal pie pan
- notebook paper
- Place the two books about 10 cm apart on a table.
- Place some small bits of material (paper, tissue paper, or foam) on the table area between the two books.
- With adult supervision: Carefully place the piece of glass on top of the two books.
- Predict what will happen as a result of rubbing a piece of plastic on the glass. Record your prediction in a science journal.
- Rub the top of the glass quickly with a piece of the plastic bag.
- Observe for about a minute and record what happens in the science journal, then explain why the paper behaved as it did.
- Touch the plastic bag against the glass and observe what happens. Record your findings in the science journal.
- Repeat steps 2-7 using other pieces of materials not yet used and record what happens in the science journal. Pay special attention to any changes in the results.
What causes the glass to become electrically charged when it is rubbed with the plastic bag?
What differences do you notice in the actions of the cutout people shapes? Record your responses in the science journal.
- Place a metal pie pan under the glass in between the two books.
- Repeat steps 2-6 using cutouts in the shape of people and watch them dance!
Metal is a conductor of electricity. How did adding the pan under the cutout people shapes affect the results in the investigation of static charge? Record your explanation in the science journal.
1. What causes the glass to become electrically charged when it is rubbed with the plastic bag?
By rubbing the plastic bag on the glass, the bag loses electrons and becomes negatively charged. When the negatively charged object (plastic bag) approaches an object with a neutral charge (glass), the object takes on a positive electrical charge.
Reference: NASA SciFiles
More Electricity Experiments
Homemade Battery - Learn how batteries work.
Electronic Circuit - Create an electronic circuit.
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