Word of the Week
Static (stat-ick): Lacking in movement, action, or charge. A fixed or stationary condition. It comes from the Greek word statikos meaning "causing to stand."
I'm so charged up about this week's activity. . .any guesses why? Well, January 11th is National Static Electricity Day, so we are in for some real fun!
We're all familiar with electricity, but you might not have known that there are actually different types of electricity. No real surprise, but this week, we're going to explore and experiment with some static electricity!
Static electricity is something we all see during our everyday lives. It literally builds up on us! Here are a few examples.
Ever rub your feet on carpet, and next thing you know. . .ZAP when you touch someone or something else?
How about your hair? Has it ever stood up on end after going down the slide or taking off a knit cap?
What about putting on a clean sweater only to find a random sock is stuck to the back?
These are all common examples of static electricity at work. You've been charged!
In scientific terms, static electricity is the buildup of an electrical charge on the surface of an object. Static electricity holds the charges in one area for some time and doesn't allow it to flow or move to a different area. A static charge occurs when two surfaces touch each other, and electrons move from one object to another. One object ends up with a positive charge and the other with a negative charge. Imagine rubbing your feet on a carpet or rubbing two balloons together. You can build up a pretty large charge.
During our experiment, you'll find that items with different charges (one positive and one negative) will attract each other. You will also see that items with the same charge (positive and positive) will repel or push away from each other. Remind you of anything? They act kind of like magnets!
Floating Foil Experiment
You'll need: A dry water bottle, a balloon, aluminum foil
How it's done:
Tear off pieces of aluminum foil and scrunch them into tiny balls. Think the smaller, the lighter.
Put the aluminum foil balls into the water bottle and screw on the cap.
Blow up your balloon, then rub it back and forth along your clothing. A sweater works great.
Place that same area of the balloon on the surface of your water bottle, and watch the magical floating foil do its thing!
Isn't it electrifying?
Until next time. . .