Friday, April 4, 2014

Static Electricity and Ions

We started this unit with static electricity, and to understand that, you first have to understand ions. We learned about ions when we studied nuclear energy, but it was good for us to review it. (I think I finally have it down now, but I tend to get ions and isotopes mixed up, so a reminder is always helpful for me.) We made little diagrams using fwuffballs to represent the subatomic particles. We showed how an atom losing an electron could create charged particles, either positive or negative.
There are lots of fun things you can do with static electricity and a balloon. There's picking up tiny bits of paper, of course . . .
Or making a stream of water bend
Or sorting salt and pepper (if you get the balloon just the right distance away, the lighter pepper jumps up to the balloon while the heavier salt remains on the plate).
You can repel a piece of tape with another (rubbed) piece of tape
But maybe our favorite thing is just making people's hair stand up!

Also, here's a nice video of a lightning strike.

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