Lesson plan

Static electricity

Summary
Do a series of activities, some free play, to explore static electricity.
Science content
Physics: Electricity, Electromagnetism (7)
Procedure

Introduce the topic by rubbing a balloon on your hair to make it stand up, then give an explanation:
When we rub the balloon, atoms are pulled apart in our hair, and electrons jump from our hair to the balloon. More electrons make the balloon positively charged, which our positively-charged hair is attracted to. Static electricity is this separation of charges.
Ask students to draw the hair on end and show what is happening with the electrons.

Set up free play stations for students to explore static electricity further:
First station: Static electricity with a balloon
Second station: Jumping rice crispies
Ask students to take notes/make drawings at each station.
Gather as a group to report results, compare similarities and differences, and brainstorm for further experiments.

Once free experimentation is done (may take several sessions), run structured activities:
Static electricity sparks
Static electricity: light a bulb

Grades taught
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Teaching Site
Gordon Elementary Science Club