Balloons and Static Electricity Lesson


TEKS Science: 8.3C, 8.5A-B CCRS Science Standards: VIII-I1, VIII-18


Lesson Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to understand that similarly charged particles (proton-proton and electron-electron) repel each other while oppositely charged particles (proton-electron) attract each other and how electrons are transferred between two atoms.
  2. Students will be able to differentiate between electricity and static electricity.
  3. Students will be able to distinguish between the properties, in relation to the spread out and transfer of charges between conductors and insulators.
  4. Students will be able to plan an investigation with a partner using an electroscope and various samples of materials.


Lesson Overview:

The lesson begins with students watching a cereal demonstration. Next, each student will be given a role as a proton, neutron, or electron and the class will model two atoms to demonstrate electron interaction between atoms. Students will move to PhET computer simulation (see: to investigate charge accumulation due to friction, as well as, charge distribution in neutral objects due to the presence of an electric field. Students will move to experiment and each pair will build their own electroscope. Students will measure charge accumulation due to friction with their electroscopes, using a variety of insulative and conductive materials, ordering reactions by magnitude. Students will share measurements to compare class results. Real world examples of static electricity will be explained. Teacher will guide a discussion explaining variations due to sample, procedural, and environmental differences. The lesson ends with the students being introduced to water being a polar molecule by viewing how a stream of water reacts to a charged pipe being placed beside it.