- Static Powered Neon Lights Kit
- Scotch Tape
- Thick Construction Paper
- Rubber Erasers
- Parchment Paper
- Give each student a light (Figure 1) and ask them to try to figure out how to light it up
- After a few minutes, rub your feet on the floor (carpet) and let them watch as the light bulb lights up
- Let the students try this on their own
- Let the students insulate the wires with the different materials
Figure 1: Static Powered Neon Lights
- How does rubbing your feet on the carpet help light up the light bulb?
- Why does your hair go up when a helium balloon touches your scalp or when you brush your hair?
- Define insulator.
- Define conductor.
- What makes a good insulator?
Static electricity is generated by friction. This can happen when you rub your feet on the floor and then you touch someone and you create a shock. This also happens when you brush your hair or rub a balloon on your head. The light bulbs have small amounts of an inert gas, neon. An inert gas is a gas that usually do not react with other atoms. The wires on the light bulbs are very good conductors, they allow for the flow of electricity. In contrast, an insulator, blocks the flow of electricity. When you rub your feet on the carpet the static electricity is generated and flows from your body through the conductor (the wires), the electricity created excited the atoms of the neon gas and creates an orange light.
Next Generation Science Standards
Waves and Their Applications
Application for Information Transfer