At-Home Science – Static or Magic?


At-Home Science - Static or Magic - Connor

Written by Connor Smith, Science Content Specialist.

Tired of science experiments that are too complicated or convoluted to recreate at home? We totally understand. Science Content Specialist Connor Smith’s blog series, At-Home Science, is a fun and easy way to conduct safe science experiments in the comfort of your own home. It’s science you CAN try at home!

Ever wanted to get something to bend to your will? Use electricity! With this cool At-Home Science trick, you’ll be able to manipulate a string and a stream of water—without even touching ’em.

You’ll need a few materials to recreate this science experiment at home.

What You’ll Need

  • Balloon
  • Fabric/Hair
  • Water Source
  • String

How It’s Done

This trick is super simple, and it’s easy to recreate on your own! The first thing you need to do? Blow up a balloon. Take your balloon and rub it on a piece of fabric (or your hair if you don’t mind a bad hair day). Then move the balloon close to a stream of water. Try the same thing with a string and see what happens!

How It Works

It’s not magic, it’s static! When you rub the balloon on the fabric/your hair, you are building up a static charge. This is the same thing you feel if you’ve ever been shocked after walking on carpet in socks or by touching metal. The balloon picks up electrons from the fabric, which then pulls on and moves the stream/string.

Keep Questioning

Here are a few fun questions to extend and enhance your learning. Have fun exploring, experimenting and discovering, At-Home Scientists!

  • Where else have you see a static charge affect things?
  • What does the balloon do to your hair when you rub it there?
  • What’s another way to build a static charge?
  • How could you use a static charge to help with something?

Disclaimer: When recreating a Thinkery experiment, recipe or DIY activity at home, children should be supervised and supported by a parent or guardian.

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