Name of Activity Making Lightning
Author Ramona Gravesande
Keywords found materials, electricity, current, lightning, electrons, protons, thunder
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will use household materials to create an electric current similar to lightning.
Lesson Objectives: To teach students how lightning forms and why it strikes.
Materials Needed: Aluminum pie pans
Styrofoam plates
Wool cloth
Preparation and Set Up: Gather necessary materials.
Arrange student into groups of 2 – 4.
Distribute necessary materials.
Necessary Background Lightening occurs when a connection is made from electrons in the bottom of a cloud to protons in the ground. Electrons in the bottom of the cloud are attracted to the protons in the ground. When the connection is made the protons rush to meet the electron and that is when you see lightening. A bolt of lightening heats the air along its path casing it to expand rapidly. Thunder is the sound caused by this rapid expanding air.


  1. Push a thumbtack through the bottom center of an aluminum pie pan.
  2. Push the eraser of a pencil through the thumbtack to make a handle to lift the pan.
  3. Take a styrofoam plate and rub the underside with wool  for one minute, rubbing hard and fast.
  4. Pick up the pie pan with the dplace it on top of the upside-down styrofoam plate again.
  5. If students do not feel anything they should rub the styrofoam plate again and touch the pie pan with the lights out and see what happens.
Reference 1
Reference 2
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