Daily Schedule

Friday, January 11, 2013

Shocking Science Friday

Today we explored a little "Ben Franklin Science" by doing some experiments with Static Electricity. We learned that everything is made up of atoms, and atoms are made up of even smaller parts. Electrons have a negative charge and protons have a positive charge. If there are the same number of electrons and protons, the atom has no charge.

But let's say we rub things together, like a balloon on a sweater. Electrons can move, and some atoms gain electrons and some lose electrons. When charges are separated like this, it's called static electricity. If two things have different charges, they attract. It they have the same charge, they repel. Think of taking your hat off and having all your hair stand up. Electrons have moved from your hair to the hat. Now each of the hairs has the same positive charge and want to move away from each other.

One of the experiments I found on one of my favorite old kid shows, Zoom. I wish that show was still on, it was great! The lesson I found did a pretty good job of explaining what was happening so that young ones could begin to understand. I will include this in another post, and would love it if you and your child could watch again together.

We tried the same experiment with mixed results. The cereal wasn't quite as active for us as it was for them. But it did work a bit, as you can see!

We also made "electric spiders". Using pieces of paper with 8 "legs" cut halfway through, partners took turns charging up their spiders by placing them on each other's backs and rubbing them with a balloon. Then children could wave their balloons around the spider legs and make them move as if by magic.

And of course the best part was experimenting freely, as children need and love to do. We made our hair stand on end, took off our shoes and tried to shock ourselves by scuffing across the carpet, and generally just had a good time.

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