Static Electricity Science Project – Have you ever heard the saying “opposites attract”? You may or may not agree with it, but in science, it’s true – opposites do attract.
All matter – which is almost everything that you can see – is made up of atoms. Atoms are tiny particles that are the building blocks of everything you can see. Trees, rocks, fish, water, and YOU are made of billions and billions incredibly small atoms. Atoms are made up of even tinier part, and three of these parts are: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons are in the center of an atom, like the sun is in the center of the solar system. The electrons spin around the center, like planets, except a whole lot faster.
In a picture of an atom, the protons have a plus sign on them. That’s because they have a positive charge. Electrons have a negative charge, so they’ve got a minus sign on them. And positive charges like to hang around negative charges. In an atom, there is usually one proton for every electron – sort of like two teams with equal numbers of players. One proton to one proton means that the atom is balanced. Everything is balanced, and everybody is happy.
But there are certain kinds of atoms that have a habit of taking electrons from other electrons, almost like a dog getting burrs on its coat. This happens a lot when atoms bump against each other. When one atom takes electrons from another, it ends up with more electrons than protons, and it’s not balanced any more. We say it is negatively charged. When atoms are negatively charged, they don’t like it, so they try their best to get near other atoms that are missing electrons. They really want to be balanced.
One of our reports is about atoms that aren’t balanced. In the demonstration, the student will “charge” a pie plate, and then show the class how the electrons jump back to where they belong. Take a look at the video.
Find out the secret of how to do this cool – and shocking! – project in our Watch This! Science Projects by clicking right here.