More about Static Electricity

More about Static Electricity


Explore the Static Electricity resource and perform the activities on this sheet to understand more about the nature and characteristics of static electricity. Take notes by answering the questions. Be prepared to discuss your answers.

Part 1: Static Electricity

What are three examples of static electricity?



When is there a positive charge?



When is there a negative charge



What role does friction play in static electricity?



When do objects attract each other?



When do objects repel each other?



Part 2: Opposite Charges Attract


  • Inflated balloon
  • Piece of wool
  • Pieces of paper about the size of a small fingernail (enough pieces can be obtained by tearing up a small piece of note paper about 2 inches (5-6 cm) square)


  1. Without doing anything else, hold the balloon near the pieces of paper. Observe what happens.
  2. Next, briskly rub the balloon across a piece of wool; you can use a sweater, sock, scarf, or rug.
  3. Hold the balloon near the pieces of paper again. What happens to the pieces of paper this time?
  4. What conclusions can you make about the activity? Think about what might be happening to the atoms of the materials.



Describe what happens to the pieces of paper in this activity.



Explain the role of negative and positive charges in the results of the experiment.



Explain the meaning of the statement: “You cannot see electricity, but you can see what it does.”



Part 3: Like Charges Repel Activity


  • 2 combs
  • 2 pieces of thread or lightweight string about 2 feet long (exact length is not critical)
  • Fur or wool as in previous activity


  1. Take two combs and tie a long thread or string onto the end of each one.
  2. Give each comb a static charge by rubbing it with fur or wool.
  3. Hold each comb by the end of the thread and try to bring the combs close to each other. Observe what happens.
  4. What conclusions can you make about the activity? Again, think about what is happening to the atoms in the combs.



Describe what happens to the combs in the Like Charges Repel experiment.



Describe the charges of the combs in the activity. Draw an illustration below and label the charges of each comb.



How long do you think the combs will stay “charged?” How could you find out?


Did you find this resource helpful?