Grade level: 5th to 8th; Type: Electricity
This project explores ways to prevent getting shocked by static electricity.
- Does everyone experience static electricity?
- Can static shocks be prevented?
- What causes static electricity?
- Which method of preventing shocks works best?
- Do clothing, shoes, or dry air play a part in the static effect, or perhaps a combination of all three?
This project is best undertaken during the fall/winter months.
- Hand Cream
- Dryer Sheets
- Static Guard Spray
- A small handful of change
- Sweat Shirt
- Polyester Shirt
- Leather-Style Shoes
- Flip Flops
- Ask for four volunteers the day before your experiment.
- Ask the first volunteer to wear a sweatshirt and a pair of sneakers.
- Ask the second volunteer to wear a polyester shirt and take off his/her shoes.
- Ask the third volunteer to wear a sweater and leather-style shoes.
- Ask the forth voluteer to wear a t-shirt and a pair of flip flops.
- One at a time, ask each volunteer to scuff his/her feet across a bare floor and then touch something metal like a doorknob or to touch another person. Record what happens.
- Now, ask each volunteer to scuff his/her feet across a carpeted floor and then touch something metal like a doorknob or to touch another person. Record what happens.
- Now ask the volunteer wearing the sneakers and a sweatshirt to place a dryer sheet into each shoe.
- Ask the volunteer wearing the polyester shirt and socks to apply hand cream to his/her hands.
- Ask the third volunteer wearing the sweater and the leather-style shoes to apply static guard to him/herself. (Be cautious - do not spray this near face or eyes).
- Ask the forth volunteer wearing the t-shirt and flip flops to put a handful of change into his/her pocket.
- Ask the first three volunteers one at a time to repeat steps 6 and 7.
- Ask the fourth volunteer to repeat steps 6 and 7, but ask him/her to put his/her hand into his/her pocket and touch the change just before touching the metal surface or another person.
- Record all observations, answering the Research Questions.
Terms/Concepts: Static, Metal, Humidity, Moisture, Dry Air, Conductive, Non-Conductive, Positive charge, Negative Charge, Atoms
Static Shock and How to Avoid Them, http://www.static-sol.com/articles/static_shocks.htm.
"Static Electricity; Static elimination and control," Science Made Simple, http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/eliminatestaticelectricity.html.
School for Champions, by Ron Kurtus, http://school-for-champions.com/science/static_materials.htm.
Materials That Cause Static Electricity, http://jh399.k12.sd.us/DailyAssign/Physics/ch7materialstaticelec.pdf.
Humans and sparks: The cause, Stopping the pain and “Electric People,” by William J. Beaty (1997) http://www.electricitycentral.com/articles/staticsparks.htm.