Bill Nye Demonstration:  Static Electricity

Bill Nye Demonstration: Static Electricity

Author: Bill Nye

Learning Targets for this lesson include:  (NGSS:  MS-PS2-5)

  • Students will be able to define static electricity. 
  • Students will be able to explain what happens when neutral, positively charged, and/or negatively charged objects come into contact with one another. 
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Introduction to Psychology

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Static Electricity

Hair and a balloon. Just why would rubbing a balloon on hair make it stand on end. Take a look!

Static Electricity Simulation

Click on the image to use the PhET simulation and learn more about static electricity and charges. 

John Travoltage

Make sparks fly with John Travoltage. Wiggle Johnnie's foot and he picks up charges from the carpet. See what happens as you bring his hand close to the door knob.​

Student Activity Handout

Here is one example of a worksheet students may use while interacting with the simulations. Visit http://phet.colorado.edu for more teacher ideas and activities.

Full Screen

Source: dorina kosztin

Bill, show us more!

Let's not waste my earlier work! Straight from my 2009 season, here is a van de Graaff generator. This bit rocks. It's that fundamental idea that if opposites attract, likes repel, from the floor right through the hairs on a head. You'll get a charge out of this bit!

More Resources

Check out some of these sites for even more information on static electricity and charges.

What is Static Electricity - sciencemadesimple.com

Electricity for Kids - ducksters.com


What Else is There?

If you're interested in watching more of my demonstrations, checkout my playlist, 

Science Demonstrations by Me, Bill Nye

Your Turn!

Have cool science demonstrations you show your classes regularly? Save time and materials by making a quick video tutorial of your own for students. By using demonstrations and lab investigations regularly, students not only will know science, they can apply it!

Check out some resources on doing it yourself: