Did you know that the great American inventor, philosopher, and homeschooling alumnus Benjamin Franklin’s birthday was January 17th? One of the many things Benjamin Franklin is remembered for is for discovering how to effectively conduct electricity. Therefore, what better way is there to celebrate his birthday than by conducting your own electricity experiment at home? Don’t worry, this electricity experiment is easy and fun. You probably have everything you need to make it at home!
This activity is super easy to conduct! I wasn’t kidding when I said you probably already have everything you need to be able to conduct this experiment. So take a few minutes today to try this! You might discover that your children have a love of science that neither you nor they would have otherwise discovered.
- plastic spoon
- one teaspoon salt
- one eatspoon pepper
- wool product
- measuring spoons
- paper plate
1. Measure one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. Mix them together and place them on a paper plate.
2. Rub the plastic spoon VIGOROUSLY across the wool product (rounded side of the spoon facing down). We used a wool coat for this experiment. You might have wool socks or a wool scarf, etc.
3. After this, wave the spoon about an inch or so above the mixture of salt and pepper on the paper plate (still keeping the rounded side down).
4. Ask your child/children what they observe. What happens to the salt and pepper?
Everything is made up of atoms. These atoms contain electrons, which are negatively charged, orbiting their nucleus. When atoms come in contact with each other, they can transfer electrons.
In this experiment, the item losing the negatively charged electrons – the wool product – becomes positively charged. The spoon, which gains the negative electrons, becomes negatively charged. The salt and pepper are positively charged. As you wave the negatively-charged spoon slowly over the positively-charged mixture, the positively charged mixture will be attracted to the negatively charged spoon. Because the pepper is lighter than the salt in weight, it will be attracted to the spoon more quickly than the heavier salt.
What My Boys Thought
My boys enjoyed this activity! They said, “It was fun and simple to help me understand static electricity in action.”
Books that go along with this science experiment:
This Activity Was Inspired By
Happy Birthday, Ben Franklin!
Will you use this science experiment in your own homeschool? Let us know!