Static Electricity Workshop

Learning Cycle Activity
Groups: White Boards
or Discussion
1. What is Static Electricity?

Draw cartoons of charges for balloon, for tapes.
Model of atom and charging objects.
See for simple explanation.
Re-do balloon cartoon.
Try different materials.
Make own triboelectric list.
Compare with
2. How can charges be stored?

  • 8.1 - 8.6: Use neon bulb to determine + or - charges.
8.7 - 8.8 group draw cartoon steps of charging.
Charge with electrophorous.
See for animation of charging capacitor.
  • Build dissectible Leyden jar with plastic cup and 2 Al foil cupcake liners.
Charge, disassemble, reassemble it.
Explain Leyden jar charging.
Charged objects: He balloons, soap bubbles

Electric Field: Puffed rice, hair (stand on insulator), disposable Al pans, fluorescent bulb (orient along field line).
See for discussion and diagrams of fields.
See simple field-viewing bottle. (Be sure to see electrostatic, not magnetic.)

  • Wimshurst machine
    Charges both + and -.
    See for explanation and construction.
  • Explain VdG. examples.

    Discuss misconceptions at

    Safety with lightning/static electricity.

    Discussion: uses of static electricity.

    Discussion: dangers of static electricity.

    3. Further construction projects:

    Equipment Sources and Notes