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Static Electricity Experiments with a Van de Graaf Generator

How much use does your Van de Graaff get? This activity will help your students learn to use it and understand the concepts behind it. The Van de Graaff is a super way to introduce a start to either electrostatics or circuit electricity. If a study of static electricity is in your future, consider starting here!

Written instructions are designed to go straight into students hands so you can literally print and go— writing prompts help focus student writing and lab sheets are available for students who need more structure and support. 

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Static Electricity Experiments

Concepts Addressed
• Static charges develop well on smooth spheres but tend to leak off of pointed, rough surfaces
• Van de Graaff machines develop static charges.
Static charges can be made visible using common materials.

Materials Needed
Van de Graaff machine, foil, rubber bands, string

Time Required
This lab takes about 40 mins.
Student Sheets
• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 

Static Electricity Experiments with a Van de Graaf Generator


    Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

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