Gardenview Science: Static Electricity

Jodi Schwartz, B.A.S.E. Animator

This week, Gardenview budding scientists learned about static electricity through six mini experiments, all using balloons charged with static to move objects – they learned that static acts as a magnet either attracting or repelling objects.

In first experiment, the children drew objects that can fly onto small pieces of parchment paper. The children were instructed to rub their balloons on their hair or an article of clothing to charge them with static and then place the charged balloons near the parchment paper to make their objects “fly.”

In the second experiment, the children worked together to charge their balloons with static electricity and place each balloon in front of an empty aluminum can that was lying on its side. The can became attracted to the balloon and began rolling to follow it. The children rolled the balloon all around the room, taking turns controlling the can with the balloon’s static electricity.

The third experiment involved mixing salt and pepper into a pile on a table, charging a plastic spoon with static and then placing it near the salt and pepper pile. The pepper clung to the spoon while the salt remained in a pile on the table.

The fourth experiment used the static charged balloons again, but this time the children experimented with a small piece of plastic grocery bag. The static charge pushed the plastic up into the air, just like magic.

For the fifth experiment, the children created static charges with their balloons and then attempted to place two balloons next to one another. Since the static charge was strong in both balloons, it made the balloons repel each other and separate.

In the sixth and final experiment, taking turns, the children placed their statically charged balloons next to a stream of water running from a faucet. The static pulled the water stream toward the balloons.

Science is always an adventure!

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