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Static Electricity

Find out more about static electricity, insulators and conductors, electrical charges, experiments with electricity,  and the answers to trivia questions sent with the kids science project on static electricity.

Trivia Questions

1. What are subatomic particles? Can you name some?

2. What is an ion?

 Find the answers to these kids science questions.

 

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Science Experiments for Kids Science doesn't have to be complicated, expensive or use specialized laboratory equipment. There are great science projects that can be performed using common household items.

Whether you are a parent or a student trying to find an idea for a science project, a teacher looking for ideas for the classroom, or a science enthusiast who enjoys the delight of experimentation, you'll find what you're looking for in this book.

101 Easy Science Projects

 

 

 

Atoms and Electricity


Everything around you is made of atoms and combinations of these atoms. In the middle of each atom is a nucleus. The nucleus contains two kinds of tiny particles, called protons and neutrons. Orbiting around the nucleus are even smaller particles called electrons.

The protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom are held together very tightly. Normally, the nucleus does not change. But some of the outer electrons in an atom are held very loosely and can move from one atom to another. 

Static Electricity is created when electrons move from the atoms of item to another (like hair and a comb). 

Insulators and Conductors 

Some types of atoms hold their electrons very tightly. Materials made from these atoms are called insulators like cloth, plastic, glass and dry air. Other atoms have a weak bond with their electrons.  Materials made from these atoms are conductors, like metal.

 

Electric Charges

Two items with opposite, or different charges (one positive and one negative) will attract, or pull towards each other. Things with the same charge (two positives or two negatives) will repel, or push away from each other.

A charged object will also attract something that is neutral. If it is a conductor, many electrons move easily through it towards a positive charge. If it is an insulator, the electrons in the atoms and molecules can only move very slightly to one side. In either case, there are more positive charges closer to the negative object. Opposites attract. 

So what does all this have to do with static electric shocks?  Think about taking a wool hat off your head.  As it rubs your hair, electrons move from your hair to the hat.   Each hair has lost electrons creating a positive charge.    Items with the same charge try to move away from each other.    In this case, the hairs all try to stand up and move as far apart as possible. 

Websites with information on the Static Electricity

Make a super sparker
More info on static electricity

 

 

Experiment with Static Electricity 

1. Bending Water (tap with running water, and comb)

Create static electricity on a plastic comb by combing your hair or you can rub a plastic rod with some wool. Turn on the faucet so that the water runs slowly but smoothly without breaking up.  Bring the comb near to the running stream of water without touching it. Watch what happens..

2. Experiment with balloons (balloon, felt, timer, water source)

Blow up the balloon. Rub one side with the felt or your sweater to create static electricity. Place the balloon against the wall. What happens? Time how long it lasts. 

Try it again after someone has had a shower, or you spray water on the wall. What’s different?     Why?

 

 

Cover for Everything Kids Science Experiments Book

The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water, Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You

Science has never been so easy - all you need to do is gather a few household items and you can recreate dozens of mind-blowing, kid-tested science experiments.

Order Science Experiments Now

  Cover for How Science Works Book

How Science Works

Interesting experiments and good descriptions covering matter; energy, force, and motion; light and sound; air and water; electricity and magnetism; and electronics and computers

Order How Science Works Now

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Spa Science

Spa Science

Take science into the bathtub. It's perfect for science fairs, birthday parties and family fun. It will help both girls and boys to think like a scientist in the tub!


 

Trivia Answers

1. What are subatomic particles? Can you name some?

Electrons, Protons, Neutrons, and other small pieces of matter that only exist for a fraction of a second when an atom is split. 

 

2. What is an ion?

An atom that has a positive electrical charge due to the loss of one or more electrons. 

 

 

 Note to Parents:

Creative Kids at Home has checked every weblink on this page.  We believe these links provide interesting information that is appropriate for kids.  However, the internet is a constantly changing place.  You are responsible for supervising your own children.  If you ever find a link that you feel is inappropriate, please let us know. 

 

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