Thursday, November 6, 2014

Static Electricity: Swinging Cheerios

Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean have definitely been exposed to static electricity at the park when they slide down the slide and come up with their hair sticking up all over like a mad scientist or getting shocks during the winter when it is dry inside the house.  But today, our science experiment involves fine motor skills, good lungs, and some static electricity.   We are going to magically swing Cheerios without touching them!

First, Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean slid a piece of string through the hole of a Cheerio, wrapped it around the Cheerio and tied it in a knot.  This was great practice and reminded mommy that we need to continue to work on tying.


They then taped the Cheerio free end to the stool so that it hung toward the ground.

Now, the hardest part- blowing up the balloon.  They did it!

With a balloon and a piece of fur, Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean rubbed the two together to make an electrical charge on the balloon.  Mommy rubbed it as well just to make sure there was enough charge.

Slowly, the balloon was moved closer to the hanging Cheerio, and the Cheerio started to swing back and forth.  The static from the balloon attracted the cheerio to it.

What is happening?  When you rub the balloon against the wool or fleece, electrons move from the wool or fleece to the balloon.  The balloon now has a negative charge.  However, the cheerio is neutral making it attract to the balloon. 


  • Cheerio
  • Balloon
  • String
  • Tape
  • Chair or table
  • Wool, fleece, or hair

  1. Tie a cheerio onto the end of a piece of string.
  2. Tape the cheerio free end of the string to a table or chair.
  3. Blow up a balloon.
  4. Charge the balloon by rubbing wool or fleece on it.  You can also rub the balloon on your hair.
  5. Slowly move the balloon toward the cheerio until it attracts the cheerio and makes it swing.


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