Students will use balloons to attempt to pick up various objects and then discuss as a group why certain objects stuck to the balloon while others did not.
Students at the end of the lesson should understand how electrons are transferred to objects due to friction, and how the addition of electrons affects repulsion and attraction to other objects.
pieces of paper
worksheet for students to keep track of their observations (Provided below).
Preparation and Set Up:
Wihle one STOMP fellow prepares the materials for the students, the other fellow can go through a brief introductory lesson (powerpoint attached below).
Students should be given background regarding electricity and static electricity. Some vocabulary that may be helpful include: charge, electrons, protons, attraction, and repulsion. It is key to explain that only electrons are transferred, and when they are transferred through friction it makes the balloon more negative, thus making other objects attracted to it. This effect only lasts for a short amount of time since only a few electrons are transferred to the balloon. Drawing diagrams of more negative and more positive ends of objects helps to explain this.
It might also be helpful to give real life example such as: static shock due to rubbing socks against a carpet.
Arrange students into pairs.
Provide students with paper to keep track of their observations (attached below).
Allow students to test their materials.
Discuss with class why some materials can be picked up and others cannot.
Discuss what is physically causing the materials to be attracted to the plastic balloons
Have students experiment with other objects around the classroom.
Students use plastic balls and/or balloons to attempt to pick up various objects using static electricity.
Introduce students to the concepts of electricity and static electricity using a combination of discussion and a hands-on activity.
-Plastic balls and/or balloons (Note: Double-check before entering the classroom that these objects WILL actually pick up materials.)
-Various light items such as scraps of paper, salt, flour, glitter, string, etc.
Students should be given background regarding electricity and static electricity. Some vocabulary that may be helpful include: charge, electron, attract, repel, conductor, and insulator. Students should brainstorm various materials that would be considered either conductors or insulators.
Arrange students in pairs or groups, depending on availability of materials.
Provide students with paper to keep track of their observations.
Allow each pair/group to test several types of materials.
Discuss with class why some materials can be picked up and others cannot. Discuss what is physically causing the materials to be attracted to the plastic balls/balloons.
If your classroom happens to have a sink, an interesting demonstration could be showing how static electricity will affect a stream of water (it will repel it). You could also mimic this activity with a funnel or some type of vessel with a small hole and a bucket of some kind to catch the water as it falls.