Homeschool Science

Ben Franklin – Easy Electricity Science Experiment

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!

 

Difficulty Level

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.

Supplies Needed

  • plastic spoon
  • one teaspoon salt
  • one eatspoon pepper
  • wool product
  • measuring spoons
  • paper plate

Directions

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?

 

Explanation

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:

Explore Electricity – 25 Great Projects

Ben Franklin’s Fame

Benjamin Franklin, American Genius: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities (For Kids series)

 This Activity Was Inspired By

Ben Franklin Birthday Science Experiment

Happy Birthday, Ben Franklin!

Will you use this science experiment in your own homeschool? Let us know!

 

About the author

Trish

Trish is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. She has been married to her best friend, David, for 22 years and they have three sons (ages 19, 17 and 15). Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures, learning Hebrew and growing in their faith and walk daily. In her spare time, Trish loves to travel, write, work in their garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!

1 Comment

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  • You can use the same spoon (clean and rubbed vigorously across the wool) to bend water! Allow your kitchen tap to run a small stream of water. Bring the spoon slowly close to the stream without touching it. The water should be attracted to the spoon. The reason is because water has polarity (slight positive side and slight negative side) and it is attracted by the same principle of the pepper particles…static electricity! 🙂

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