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Weather Experiment: Static Electricity

Reece Cole joins Mrs. Boyle's 3rd grade class at Martin Public Schools
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Posted at 7:00 PM, Apr 25, 2023

Clouds build up plenty of moisture to produce rain, but when the atmosphere is unstable it also gains charge and can produce lightning!

Weather Experiment: Static Electricity

Lightning is the simple process of balancing negatively and positively charged electrons in the atmosphere. We can do this on a small scale with electric shock on your finger when you and another object are oppositely charged.

Meteorologist Reece Cole visited Mrs. Boyle's third-grade science classrooms at Martin Public Schools to help students feel electric shocks. You can watch the science experiment in the video above.

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Looking to try this at home? Here's what you'll need:

1. Paper plate
2. Aluminum pan
3. Thumbtack
4. Pencil
5. Wool Sock

Here's what to do:

Step 1: Put the thumb tack through the bottom of the aluminum pan, poking the eraser into the thumb tack.

Step 2: With the paper plate upside down on the table, rub the wool sock aggressively for two minutes against the paper plate. This builds up electric charges for shock.

Step 3: Using the pencil as your holder, move the aluminum pan onto the plate, then touch your finger to the pan to feel a small shock.

To enhance the experiment: Turn off the lights to see the electric charges jump from your finger to the pan, similar to how lightning transfers charges from the ground to the clouds!