Static Electricity Comb Activity

3.0 based on 2 ratings
Updated on Feb 12, 2013

Resourceful kids don't need fancy labs to unleash their science expertise. Help your own young scientist tackle the wonders of static electricity from the comfort of his own home! This simple experiment illustrates the incredible way objects like a comb can build up positive and negative charges.

What You Need:

  • Comb
  • Sink
  • Wool sock

What You Do:

  1. Let your child turn the sink's faucet on. He'll need a tiny, but steady stream of water.
  2. Have him rub the wool sock back and forth on the comb. He should keep rubbing until he can hear the static. This will be a soft soft that resembles the buzzing he may hear on the television when the signal isn't good.
  3. Once he hears this sound, show him how to move the static electricity comb about an inch away from the running stream of water. Do not let the comb touch the water!
  4. The flowing water should attempt to move toward the comb. As your child slowly shifts the comb back and forth, the water should try to follow.
  5. Does your child have a guess as to how this is happening? Explain to himthat rubbing the wool sock and the comb together created a negative charge. The flowing water didn't have any charge, but when your child brought the negative comb to the water, it introduced charge to the water!
  6. Challenge your child to come up with other ways -- besides rubbing a wool sock against a comb -- to make a stream of water move with static electricity.