Science Course with Ryan Morse: Halloween dancing ghosts and static electricity

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – You don’t need to believe in ghosts to know they play a huge role in the Halloween celebrations. But there is a way to use static electricity in the classroom to make homemade ghosts more lifelike through a simple science experiment.

Do it yourself experiment

Materials: Balloons, tissue paper, and scotch tape

  1. The first step in this experiment is to cut out your tissue paper into ghost shapes about 1.5 inches in size. If the tissue paper is 2 ply, pull the layers apart to make the thinnest layers to cut
  2. Blow up your balloon and tie it
  3. Tape the bottom of your ghost tissue paper to the table with scotch tape. Notice how the balloon can hover over the ghost without the ghost moving
  4. Now, this step involves your hair. Rub your balloon rapidly for 10 seconds against your head, this adds static charge
  5. Slowly hover the balloon over the ghost after rubbing it on your head
Why are the ghosts moving?

Rubbing the balloon on your hair builds electrons with negative charge on the surface on the balloon. Your tissue paper ghost has positive charge which results in the opposite charges being attracted and the ghost moving. If you do not tape down your tissue paper ghost, it will stick to the balloon.

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