Students were asked to watch the following videos and read 10.3 Flashlights in How Things Work the Physics of Everyday Life. We skipped over 10.2 Xerographic Copiers.
In class, we watched this video on tesla coils because one of the students brought in a small tesla coil that he had built when he was 8!
For the lab we took a look at electric fields by pouring some mineral oil (non-conductive fluid) in a petri dish and sprinkling lettuce seeds on top. We had pieces of a metal clothes hanger bent in different shapes to be our electrodes. One electrode is grounded (touched by a student) and the fun fly stick is used to build up negative charge on the other electrode. We placed a bit of aluminum foil over the end of the wire to collect more charge. The styrofoam cups in the photos are just used to prop up the electrodes and keep them isolated. The two electrodes end up with opposite charge and the seeds will move around and align themselves to the electric field. This is kind of similar to sprinkling iron filings over magnets to see magnetic fields.
Students used the circular shape above and two straight electrodes. They also moved them and observed the electric field getting stronger when they brought the metal electrodes closer together. One group found the force was so strong that they could move one electrode across the petri dish by moving the other one.
I also brought out my snap circuits and let the students build circuits.
If you’re looking for one long video on electricity the Royal Institute has this one, Zap, Crackle and Pop: The Story of Electricity, which is full of nice demonstrations.