Aquila Children's Magazine The Electric Issue - Page 7

Little lightni ng will give yo u a static shoc k similar to w hat you can get from touching a shopping trol ley – however , as it will create a spark mak e sure you do this ex periment aw ay from any fuel such as petr ol, gas or a cloud of flour. Little lightning can be made by creating static electricity. This is when you have an unbalanced charge on the surface or inside an object. The static charge will stay until you discharge it…with a little lightning bolt. 1 If you need to break your polystyrene block, stick a piece of tape around the edges so that it doesn’t leave a trail of static charged white beads around your house! 2 Ask an adult to cut a small piece off your polystyrene block. This will become the handle of your foil dish. 6 Lift your foil dish by the polystyrene handle. Hold it about 50 cm above the polystyrene block and let it drop onto it. 3 Use sticky tape to attach the handle to the middle of the foil dish. Do not use glue because it might cause the polystyrene to break down and release some nasty fumes. Always use the handle to move the foil dish, do not touch the tray with your fingers. The aluminium contains free electrons (negative charge), which will flow away from anything that has a negative charge. 5 Place your polystyrene block on the table so that the rubbed surface is pointing upwards. 4 Rub the remaining polystyrene block on your hair until your hair is being attracted to it. You have transferred weakly bound electrons from your hair to the polystyrene, so that it is now relatively negatively charged. 7 Now slowly touch the foil dish with your finger. Did you feel it? Some of the free electrons in the metal tray tried to get as far as possible from the electrons on the polystyrene block. The easiest route was through your finger! 8 Now lift the foil dish by the handle again. Touch the tray again. This time, it is relatively positively charged. It needs more electrons to become neutral again so it attracts them from your hand and you get another static shock! There is a wonderful website 9 Repeat the process. If it runs for tracking storms in real-time: out, you can rub the polystyrene block on your hair again to create more static. 10 Now try it in the dark – can you see your lightning? Why not try to capture it on film and send us a clip? Lightning strikes appear as a red dot with a circle heading out around them, this represents where the thunder can be heard. It fades from view as the thunder gets too faint to hear. Try it next time there is a storm near you! WIN AN ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM KIT! WIN an Electricity & Magnetism experiment kit worth £54.99 from our friends at! These cool kits will assist you in learning how a compass works, making an invisible magnetic field and building your very own loudspeaker! To be in with a chance of winning one of 5 sets all you have to do is match these three super scientists with their area of expertise: 1 Space science 2 Paleontology 3 Physical chemistry A Mary Anning B Rosalind Elsie Franklin C Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock Closing Date: Monday 4 December 2017 5 kits to be won Please send your answer on the back of an envelope with your name, address and contact number on the inside to: AQUILA Electric Kit Competition, Studio 2, 67a Willowfield Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN22 8AP You must be an AQUILA subscriber to enter our competitions. Class entries accepted if the school subscribes. 7