Lesson 1

This first lesson requires a page of simple cutouts and scissors
to explore a fundamental property of nature: charge.
Objects can gain or lose negative particles (electrons) with rubbing or friction.
Charges can build up on surfaces until they are discharged as static electricity.

1 2 You will also need
a clean flat area to do the projects:
or or
3 Have you ever rubbed
your feet along a wool
carpet and then
touched a doorknob
and gotten a SHOCK?
4 Every time you pull off
a wool hat or sweater,
or rub
clean dry hair
with a balloon,
AND you feel a shock or hear a crackle
or your hair stands on end,
you are generating . . .
ELECTRICITY S T A T I C ! 6 What IS static electricity? To answer that question,
you will need some background!
7 All matter is made of particles. FIRST - REMEMBER! 8 A tiny dot made
with a sharp pencil tip
would have about
four times a billion
times ANOTHER billion
carbon atoms in it!

Now that IS small!
And all particles
are made of atoms!

How small are atoms
Click for
9 These particles
have a property called:
Each teeny, tiny atom
is made of particles, too!
10 Each and every one of the billion, billion atoms
in a pencil dot
has a center or nucleus containing protons.
Protons Protons Protons are POSITIVELY charged.
11 This central nucleus or core is surrounded by electrons
that are moving about
frantically in shells.
Electrons Electrons are NEGATIVELY charged.
12 The charges on electrons and protons cause those sparks you experience as To better understand this,
locate the printed sheet
of protons and electrons.
static electricity! Cut out
the electrons
and protons.
1 REMEMBER: REAL electrons and protons are
billions and billions and billions of times smaller than your cutouts!
13 Each minus charge cancels out a plus charge.
If an atom or an object has an EQUAL number
of negative and positive charges, it has ZERO total charge. It is NEUTRAL!
Make two groups.

Pair each electron
with one proton.
Each electron has a MINUS or NEGATIVE charge.
Each proton has a PLUS or POSITIVE charge.
14 This group has
one extra proton,
so this group is
This group has
one extra electron,
so this group is
Now move
one electron
from one group
to the other.
or the rubbing
of two materials together!
You can actually rub off
ELECTRONS!! So HOW can you transfer
electrical charge from
one object to another?
16 You hair has LOST electrons
and becomes positively charged.
The balloon has ADDED electrons
and becomes negatively charged.
When you rub a balloon on your hair,
ELECTRONS (negatively charged) from your hair
are transferred to the balloon!
17 Which object becomes
positively charged
and which becomes
negatively charged?
Charging by Friction Did all this make sense?
Let's see.

To your right
a yellow PVC tube
is RUBBED against a rag.

The PVC picks up electrons.
The rag LOSES electrons.
18 How many types of
charges are there
What is the symbol
for a negative charge
What is the symbol for a positive charge Pair one plus charge
with one minus charge.
WHAT is the total charge
1 2 3 4 5 Is there a charge if
there are extra electrons
TWO: negative and positive minus (-) plus (+) YES! It is negatively charged.
19 Protons and Electrons Static Electricity Introduction Charge! 20