This simple activity is a great place to start an investigation into static electricity. By limiting the materials and ensuring that the charging is via conduction, kids can deduce rightly that like charges repel.
The video has two parts, the first is directed towards the learner and shows the experiment being performed. In the second section, Teacher to Teacher, I discuss some background info as well as hints and helps. Written instructions are designed to go straight into students hands so you can literally print and go— writing prompts help focus student writing and lab sheets are available for students who need more structure and support.
Answer Keys and Teacher Notes are there to address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do outside research unless you want to. The video and the written materials are intended to support each other, but each is designed to work independently—if it’s easier to use the video, do that… if you prefer to skim a written instruction and get started more quickly, do that—if you prefer to use both, do that. It’s completely up to you.
• Static charges develop when unlike materials come in close contact.
• Like charges repel.
balloons, string, cotton or wool cloth (flannel or soft, fuzzy cloths work best)
Extensive teacher notes address the many questions that come up. You shouldn’t have to do outside research on this topic unless you want to.
This lab takes about 30 mins.
• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting
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