Sticky Static

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What You Do:

Learn about the structure and components of an atom.

Explore the idea and effects of static.

Build a static structure to make static.

What You Need:


Balloon ( 1 per classroom )

Rice Krispie Cereal ( 1/4 cup per group )

Plate of Plexiglass ( 1 ft by 1 ft, 1 per group )

Mini Boxes of Cereal ( Or something similar in size to hold up plexiglass, 2-4 per group )

Wool Fabric ( 1-2 scraps per group)

Sticky Static Worksheet

Balloons and Static Electricity PhET Simulation

What’s Happening:

The effect is caused by the buildup of static charge. Rubbing the wool sweater on the plexiglass generates a net negative charge on the plexiglass surface. This net negative charge has the effect of polarizing the rice krispies on the table below, so positive charges accumulate on points closest to the overlying negatively charged plate. Unlike charges attract, and when the difference in charge has become great enough, the electrostatic attractions are sufficient to draw the rice krispies to the bottom of the plexiglass plate, against the force of gravity. The charges dissipate when the rice krispie contacts the plate. Having no further means of attraction, the now neutral krispie falls back to the surface of the table allowing the process to start over again.

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