Static Electricity and Lightning

Static Electricity and Lightning Photo Credit: Clipart.com


In this lesson you will explore various websites to learn about lightning.


Perform a webquest, by exploring these websites to understand more about lightning and static electricity.

As you explore the websites, answer these questions (you can record your answers to these questions on the Static Electricity and Lightning student sheet):

Static Electricity and Lightning

  • Explain what causes lightning. How does the principle of opposite charges attracting help to produce lightning?
  • Draw a diagram to illustrate what happens to the electrons in the clouds and on the ground during a lightning storm.
  • What is a simple way to estimate how far away lightning is from you?

Basics of Static Electricity

  • Describe some of the effects static electricity has on matter. Use some examples from your everyday life.
  • Describe how an electroscope works to detect static electricity.
  • Why is it better not to use metals to create static electricity?
  • Describe how Ben Franklin proved that lightning was static electricity.
  • How can static electricity damage a computer?

Static Electricity Sparks

  • Describe what causes a spark.
  • How is lightning different from a spark?
  • What causes thunder?

Uses for Static Electricity

  • Name several beneficial uses of static electricity.
  • Describe how static electricity can be used to control air pollution.


Knowledge Check

After completing the Web explorations, revise your responses to the questions in Part 1 by answering the questions below on your student sheet. As part of your answer, explain the changes that you made and why you made them. List any evidence you found in the webquest that prompted you to change your definition.

  1. What causes static electricity?
  2. What causes lightning?
  3. How is lightning related to static electricity?
  4. Draw a diagram illustrating the negative and positive charges that occur in a lightning storm.

This esheet is a part of the Static Electricity 4: Static Electricity and Lightning lesson.

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