Static Electricity Activities with the FunFlyStick™
By Ron Perkins
I. Move an Empty Soda Can Without Physically Touching the Can!
Materials: FunFlyStick™; empty 12 oz. soda can
A. Place an empty soda can on its side on a level surface.
B. Activate the Fun Fly Stick™ and hold the charged wand parallel to the can. As the wand is moved closer to the can, the can will start to roll toward the Fun Fly Stick™. Try to keep the Fun Fly Stick™ separation distance equal and ahead of the movement.
The charged FunFlyStick™ induces an opposite charge in the empty soda can closest to the wand. The can becomes attracted to the Fun Fly Stick™.
II. Determine the Type of Charge on the FunFlyStick™!
Materials: FunFlyStick™; piece of PVC Tubing (ca 25 cm x 2.1 cm); piece of wool cloth
(ca 10 cm x 10 cm); roll of transparent tape
A. Affix the end of a freshly pulled piece of transparent tape to a table so that most of the tape hangs in the air.
B. Vigorously rub a small length of PVC pipe with a wool cloth and bring the pipe close to the tape without touching it. Notice whether the tape is attracted (exhibiting a positive charge) or repelled (exhibiting a negative charge) by the negatively charged PVC pipe. This allows you to determine the charge on the tape.
C. Activate the Fun Fly Stick™ and, as you approach the tape (without touching it), notice whether the Fun Fly Stick™attracts or repels the tape. Knowing the charge on the suspended tape from step #2, use this information to determine the charge on the FunFlyStick™.
As you pull a piece of sticky tape from its roll, the tape becomes either negatively or positively charged. As you rub a piece of PVC pipe with a cloth, the pipe always becomes negatively charged. Knowing that opposite charges attract and like charges repel, you can then determine the type of charge on the tape and then on the FunFlyStick™.
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Film canisters are not always easy to procure, but here at Educational Innovations we’re proud to offer canisters in bulk! Finally, an easy and inexpensive way to bring these little containers into your classroom. These canisters are dry and clean, perfect for any of the following uses:
Students of All Ages
Film canisters make great storing devices. Use these canisters for liquid or solid samples. For a hands-on homework assignment, distribute the canisters and have your students collect water samples from a local river or pond. These canisters will seal tightly enough to prevent spilling, but will open easily again for classroom use. Equip your students with a microscope, and they’ll be amazed to observe all the microscopic life in their water samples.
Explore sensory perception by using film canisters to store interesting smells. Soak a cotton ball in a strongly smelling liquid, like vanilla extract or vinegar, and place it in a canister. The tightly sealing lids will prevent the odors from leaking out until the canister is opened. Very young students will be interested in identifying the unknown smells. With older students, you can discuss diffusion in air. Open a canister at the front of a classroom and ask students to raise their hands when they can smell the liquid of your choice. Have your students make observations on who raises their hands first and last. This will demonstrate how quickly different smells spread from their origin (the film canister) out into the air.
Film Canister Rockets (Works best with white canisters, #CAN-300/325)
Your students will be thrilled to make their own rockets! First, have students create the rocket by rolling construction paper into a tube that fits tightly around the base of a film canister. Make sure that the open end of the film canister is accessible at the base of the rocket. Tape the construction paper in place. Add a nose cone by cutting out a circle of construction paper, cutting a slit from the edge to the center, and twisting the paper to make a cone. Tape the nose cone to the end of the rocket opposite the film canister. Students can add ‘tail fins’ to the rocket as long as they do not block access to the film canister.
Baking soda and vinegar or alka-seltzer tablets and water can power these rockets. First, holding the rocket upside down, place the liquid fuel inside the film canister. Quickly
add the solid fuel, cap the film canister, place the rocket right side up on a flat surface, and BACK AWAY. After adding the solid fuel, everything must be done rapidly or the rocket will not launch. Adult assistance may be required for this step. To delay the launch by a few seconds, try wrapping the solid fuel in 1-2 sheets of tissue paper. CAUTION: launching rockets may be dangerous. Make sure all students wear safety glasses and are clear of the launch area before mixing fuels.
Film Canister Constellations (Works best with black canisters, #CAN-150/200)
Film canisters are also a great way to introduce constellations. Have your students accurately draw the stars that make up each of the constellations onto the template sheet provided. Cut out and tape each of the circles to the back end of a film canister. Next, have students use a push-pin or thumb tack to punch holes in the canister from the templates. Remove the pin and the template, and look through the open end of the film canister toward a light source. Instant constellations! Labeled constellation viewers make a great way to study, and unlabeled viewers can be used to create a fun quiz game. Your students will love trying to identify the unknown constellations. These viewers will go great with Educational Innovations’ Constellation Knowledge Cards (#CARD-450).
For even more fun with film canisters, try Educational Innovations’ Piezo Popper Kits (#HS-2A). Using a few drops of an alcohol (perfume will work) for fuel, these amazing poppers will launch over 20 feet! The amazing piezoelectric device generates a spark of a few thousand volts at the touch of a button. It can be used as a safety lesson to demonstrate the flammability of alcohol or perfume. Safety glasses and adult supervision required.