How to Make Lightning

When positive and negative electrical charges separate and create static electricity in a storm cloud, an unstable atmosphere creates lightning to equalize, or balance, the charges. Learn how to make sparks fly in the comfort of your own home.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Rub the pot forcefully back and forth across the plastic, holding it by the plastic handle.
  • Step 2: Create a lightning rod using the fork. Bring the tines of the fork slowly near the rim of the pot with your free hand, while continuing to move the pot with the other. Make sure the fork does not make contact with the rim, but comes very close. A small flash should appear in the small space between the rim and the fork. Enjoy the fireworks.
  • FACT: Lightning McQueen was a popular character voiced by Owen Wilson in the 2006 Disney/Pixar film _Cars._
  • TIP: If possible, locate the table in a darker corner of the room.
  • Step 3: Draw the blinds and make the room as dark as possible so you'll be able to see the lightning more easily.
  • Step 4: Attach the plastic sheet to the surface of a table with the tape. The plastic will help create static electricity.
  • TIP: Try a dry-cleaning garment bag.
  • Step 5: Don the rubber gloves to protect yourself during the experiment -- they'll ground any electricity.
  • Step 6: Choose a dry, humidity-free day for this science project. Dampness in the air can negatively affect static electricity.

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