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Static Electricity - A Hair Raising Phenomenon

Grade Level: K - 6

Discussion:

For years children at birthday parties have played with static electricity - whether they realized it or not. Bring this fun exercise to your classroom with the following simple experiment.

Materials:

latex balloons (oblong shape is better than round)

Procedure:

On a cool, dry day blow up the balloon and rub it on a rug or sweater. Bring the balloon close to a student's head. What happens? The hair rises to meet the balloon.

By rubbing the balloon, you electrically charged it. The hair rises toward the balloon because of that charge. (Individuals can try this with the hair on their forearms.

The electrical charge is also strong enough to hold the balloon against the wall for a short time. Try it and see how long the balloon will stay.