Static Electricity Bats
Just in time to try this fun Halloween inspired activity that uses science to make bats dance. With a few simple items, kids and their parents can get batty while incorporating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
- Tissue Paper
- Sweater or hair on your head
- Start by cutting out a bat shape from the tissue paper.
- Color in the bat shape with markers. Get creative and design it any way you like!
- Tape the bottom of the bat to a table or counter to keep it stable for the rest of the activity.
- Rub the balloon on a sweater or on your hair, then move it over to your bat shape.
- Hold the balloon above the shape and watch what happens. Move the balloon back and forth to make the bat “dance.”
- To expand on the experiment, try making the bat dance without taping it to the table. What happens? Try other materials to see what’s attracted to the balloon and not.
Shake it up! What happened?
The bat is attracted to the balloon because of static electricity – the thing that makes you go “Zap” when you walk on carpet in your socks. Everything is made up of atoms and atoms have three parts – electrons, neutrons and protons. Electrons circle the nucleus and are the easiest part of the atom to “lose” because the nucleus, which is made up of protons and neutrons, has a weaker pull on them. When two objects rub together, the electrons mix.
The balloon picks up extra electrons from the sweater or your hair and becomes negatively charged. Well, with electrons, opposites attract. So, when you put this over the bat, the bat is attracted to the balloon, because it has a positive charge and therefore, it “dances.” What happens if you remove the tape?