Experimenting with Static Electricity
You will get to experience what static electricity feels like and how it acts with this experiment. This is a fun and easy activity you can do with items around the house!
What you will need:
- Salt or Sugar
- Confetti or Small Paper Pieces
- Shirt, Fabric or Carpet
- Start by blowing up a balloon. You can use a regular party balloon or even a water balloon!
- You are going to start by gently, but quickly rubbing your balloon on your shirt, a blanket, a carpet, or any fabric you can find. You should be able to feel the static building up on the balloon where you were rubbing it on the fabric.
- Let's see what we can get the balloon stuck to using the static electricity we built up by rubbing the balloon on the fabric!
- Can you get the balloon to stick to your shirt?
- How about your hair (on your head or arm)? You can rub the balloon on your hair to really get it to stick.
- If you pull the balloon away a little bit, can you get your hair to stand on end?
- Can you get the balloon to stick to other things?
4. Now let's use the static electricity to see what we can attract to the balloon!
- Try picking up confetti or small pieces of paper (like punched out paper from a hole punch, or cut up little pieces with scissors.)
- Can you pick up other items using the static from the balloon?
So what is static electricity? When two surfaces rub against each other small parts of atoms, called electrons, change places between the two surfaces. That can leave one surface with a build-up of electrons and a slight electric charge. Some items hold on to electrons better than others. Balloons hold them really well, which is why this experiment works!