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Static Electricity- Balloons (Katie Flanagan)


Katie Flanagan

Principle(s) Illustrated

  1. Static Electricity
  2. Positive and Negative Charges


  • Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with electricity. Energy is transferred in many ways (Standard B.3.1)

Questioning Script

Prior knowledge & experience:

Students should already know what atoms are and the parts of an atom

Root question:

Holding a balloon up the wall, what happens if you let go?  Now, after rubbing the balloon against wool, what happens to the balloon when you let go?

Target response:

The first balloon should fall, the second balloon should stick to the wall

Common Misconceptions:

Common misconception is that balloons are not sticky, therefore they shouldn't be able to stick to a wall.


  • Blow up a balloon and hold it up to a wall.  The balloon should fall to the ground when you let go.
  • Rub that same balloon against wool, or your hair, or a student's hair.
  • Take that balloon and again hold it up to the wall. It should now stick to the wall where you held it.
  • You could also hold the balloon up to a slow stream of water from a faucet.  Do not let the balloon touch the water, but get it pretty close.  The water will start to bend away from the balloon.

Photographs and Movies



Static Electricity-- By: Science Made Simple

PHET Demonstration of Static Charges