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Electrical Charges.

Electricity is the movement of tiny particles of matter that are electrically charged.  They can have a positive or negative charge.  Just as unlike poles of magnets attract each other, so do unlike electrical charges, wile two positive charges, for example, repel (push away) each other.  Static electricity is what sometimes gives you a tiny shock when you walk on a nylon carpet.  Below are some fun experiments for you to try at home.


Experiment 1 : Hair –raising!

You will need:

A volunteer with clean hair

A balloon


  1. Rub a balloon on some cloth to give it an electrical charge.
  2. Hold the balloon above your volunteer’s head and watch what happens.  If you’re experimenting on yourself, use a mirror!

Why is you hair attached to the balloon?  How does the balloon attract to other objects? 






Experiment 2:

You will need:

A balloon

Water from the tap


1 Turn on a cold tap so that there is a gentle but steady stream of water coming from it.

2 Rub a balloon on your sleeve or some cloth to give it an electrical charge. 

3.Gently move the balloon towards the water and watch what happens.

4. Let the balloon touch the water and move it away again.  Does the effect still happen? 

5. What do you think you could do now to make it work again?


Experiment 3: Charged or not?


You will need:

2 plastic pens

Sewing thread

Small objects made of wood, glass, plastic and metal

Different kinds of fabric


  1. Tie thread around a plastic pen and hang it up so that it turns freely.
  2. Rub each small object with each of the fabrics in turn and bring it close to the pen.  If the object is charged, the pen will swing towards it.  Silk, artificial fibres and fur often work well.


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