This was a long chapter but for at least some of the kids it was all review. We’ve done electrons, charge, electric force and circuits many times before. So once again I dusted off an old keynote presentation and did some demos for static electricity: rubbing a balloon on my head and making hair rise up to meet it, pulling off strips of tape and see that they repel or attract, how to make an electroscope and demonstrated the use of a fun-fly-stick that generates electric charge. Then the students built some simple series and parallel circuits and measured the current and voltage in different places, confirming that resisters in parallel have the same voltage drop across them but different currents flowing through them (if their resistance is different) and that resisters in series must have the same current flowing through them, but different voltage drops across them. Some of the students had fun building burglar alarms and lie detectors with our large snap circuit collection. I high recommend buying snap circuits for young children, along with the Student Guide. All the sets come with manuals and instructions on building various projects but only the Student Guide explains how they work. We have so many sets I finally bought the hard case when the boxes they came in fell apart. Looks like you can actually get the case full of snap circuits as well.
While looking for links on the demonstrations I came across this youtube video on to make your own static flyer that does the same thing as the fun-fly stick.
Here’s a nice Ted-Ed talk, The science of Static Electricity – Anuradha Bhagwat:
Jefferson lab has some nice videos for science demonstrations, including this one on static electricity:
I had planned on showing this SciShow on Nikola Tesla in class but we ran out of time:
And for those who enjoy epic rap battles of history: Nikola Tesla vs Thomas Edison: