Bend water with static electricity

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Bend water with static electricity
Age Range 3-5 (PreK-K), 5-8 (grades 1-2), 8-11 (grades 3-5), 11-14 (grades 6-8)
Group Size medium (6-20)
Setting indoors
Setup Time short (0-5 min)
Duration short (5-10 min)
Subjects electricity
Key terms static
Materials balloon, stream of water
Presentation Style demonstration, student led

Brief Description

Students use static electricity generated from a balloon to make a stream of water bend.

Scientific Background

When you rub a balloon on your head, some of the atoms in your hair, called ELECTRONS, collect on the balloon. These electrons have a NEGATIVE charge. Now that the balloon has a negative charge, it is attracted to things that have a POSITIVE charge... like a magnet!

When you bring the negatively charged balloon near the faucet, it is attracted to the POSITIVE force of the water. The attraction is so strong it actually pulls the water towards the balloon! If you want to try another experiment with your balloon, tear up pieces of tissue until they are really really small. Then charge your balloon again by brushing it on your hair, and bring it close to the tiny pieces of tissue. If the pieces are small enough they will jump off the table to the balloon. Thanks static electricity!

This Is How You Play

  1. Blow up a balloon.
  2. Rub it in your hair.
  3. Place it near a thin stream of water.
  4. Watch static electricity pull on the water!


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