Book ChapterDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.
Static electricity is created when two different insulating materials are rubbed together, creating friction that allows electrons to shift from one material to the other. In this activity, a 6-8 ft., 2 in. x 4 in. board balanced on a large watch glass rotates toward a balloon that has been electrically charged by being rubbed against the instructor’s hair. This activity works as an “edu-taining” discrepant introduction to a unit on static electricity. Teachers should not attempt to prematurely “Explain” the phenomenon, but rather use the discrepant-event demonstration to create a need-to-know. This will challenge the students to raise specific questions about static electricity that they would like to “Explore.”