TeacherVision - Lesson Plans, Printables and more Free Trial  Member Benefits  Sign In    
Click Here
Mar 2, 2015
Search:   
We have merged TeacherVision's international content onto one website. Educators around the world can use TeacherVision.com to browse an extensive library of teaching materials. You can still find relevant content for Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States in our Educators' Calendars.  [x] CLOSE
|
 

Electrostatic Charge: Make a Spark with Your Finger

Grade Levels: 3 - 5

Objectives

  • Students will observe, infer, predict, communicate, formulate hypotheses, identify and control variables, and experiment.

Materials

  • Darkened room with carpeted floor

Procedures

  1. Turn the lights off and make the room as dark as possible.
  2. Have students shuffle their feet across the carpet for a few steps.
  3. Then ask students to touch a doorknob or some other metal object. Have them watch their fingertips carefully as they touch the doorknob.
  4. What did they see? If they didn't see anything, try it again.
    This activity is not dangerous, but it does tend to invite horseplay, so if a group of students is involved, close supervision might be needed. The objective of the activity is to see the spark that jumps between the finger and the doorknob after an electrostatic charge is built up from shuffling the feet across the room on the carpet. Students usually discover that a spark can also jump between their finger and another person's ear or nose. The spark will sometimes be felt and heard. If the room can be darkened, the spark can also be seen. If some students are frightened by the spark, they should not be required to participate.

    The spark might be thought of as a miniature lightning bolt. Lightning is a huge spark of electric current that results from a buildup of static electricity in the atmosphere. When moisture in the air and other conditions are just right, in balance with the electrostatic charge, the charge will drain off due to the natural tendency to create electrically neutral conditions.

Extension Activities

  • Ask students to answer the following question. What is the spark? Have them do some research on lightning and find out how the spark from their fingers might be related to lightning. Is lightning static electricity?
  • Find out about lightning safety. What things are important to do during a lightning storm and what things should they avoid doing?

Excerpted from Hands-On Science Activities for Grades 3-4.

Highlights

Galactic Hot Dogs Reading Marathon
Join the Galactic Hot Dogs Reading Marathon! Read each episode as it's re-released with newly revealed facts, behind-the-scenes illustrations, and the inside scoop. Make it official by pledging on the blog to read each chapter with Cosmoe. Your students will love following the exploits of these space travelers, and you'll love the educational elements that can easily be paired to the stories.

Handwashing Awareness
Kids are especially susceptible to contracting and spreading viruses during the winter months. Prevention starts with proper handwashing. Show students how to keep germs away.

March Calendar of Events
March is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: National School Breakfast Week (3/2-6), World Orphan Week (3/4-11), Boston Massacre (3/5/1770), Daylight Saving Time Begins (3/8), International Women's Day (3/8), Teen Tech Week (3/8-14), Pi Day (3/14), St. Patrick's Day (3/17), Spring Begins (3/20), Make Your Own Holiday Day (3/26), and World Theatre Day (3/27). Plus, celebrate Deaf History Month (3/15-4/15), Music In Our Schools Month, Women's History Month, and Youth Art Month!

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

Take Our Survey!
Help us improve TeacherVision by taking our brief survey. Thank you for your input!

Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month. Talk to your students about the accomplishments women have made—as well as the adversity they have faced.

Teaching with Comics
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guide to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series, as found on Funbrain.com, will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stores.

Free 7-Day Trial for TeacherVision®

Sign up for a free trial and get access
to our huge library of teaching materials!
Start Trial