Introduce static electricity with a set of eight exploratory activities that use balloons. Follow up with two informative texts. For the grand finale, conduct a full-blown experiment using a fair test.
Kids explore charged and uncharged balloons by holding them near their hair, the wall and curtains, other balloons, an aluminum can, a ping pong ball, salt and pepper, running water, and/or bubbles.
Two pages explain the structure of an atom, examples of static electricity, and how conductors tend to give off or collect electrons.
First, students discuss the concept of a fair test. They focus on controlling all but one variable. Then they break into eight groups. Each group rubs a glove on an inflated balloon. They then see how many paper bits it picks up. Students share results and find averages for each pair of gloves. Finally, they complete a lab sheet that asks them to use the scientific method.
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