Key Concepts

Atoms are made of incredibly tiny particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons.Protons and also neutrons space in the center of the atom, consisting of the nucleus.Electrons surround the nucleus.Protons have actually a optimistic charge.Electrons have actually a negative charge.The fee on the proton and also electron are precisely the exact same size but opposite.Neutrons have actually no charge.Since opposite fees attract, protons and electrons entice each other.

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Students will placed a static fee on a strip of plastic through pulling it between their fingers. Lock will view that the plastic is attracted to their fingers. Students will be presented to the idea the rubbing the strip through their fingers brought about electrons to move from your skin come the plastic giving the plastic a negative charge and also their skin a optimistic charge. Through these activities, students will certainly be presented to some of the characteristics of electrons, protons, and also neutrons, which comprise atoms.


Students will have the ability to explain, in terms of electrons and also protons, why a charged thing is attracted or repelled by one more charged object. Castle will likewise be maybe to describe why a charged object can also be attracted to an uncharged object. Students will additionally be able to explain that the attraction between positive proton and an unfavorable electrons holds an atom together.


Download the student activity sheet, and also distribute one every student as soon as specified in the activity. The task sheet will certainly serve together the “Evaluate” component of each 5-E lesson plan.


Be certain you and also the students wear properly fitting goggles.

Materials for Each Group

Plastic grocery bagScissorsInflated balloonSmall piece of paper, confetti-size

Materials because that Demonstration

Sink Balloon

Do an activity to present that electrons and also protons tempt each other.

Students deserve to see proof of the fees of protons and also electrons by law an task with static electricity.

Note: once two products are rubbed together in a static electricity activity, one product tends to lose electrons when the other material tends to get electron. In this activity, human skin has tendency to shed electrons when the plastic bag, make of polyethylene, tends to gain electrons.

Question to investigate

What makes objects tempt or repel each other?

Materials because that each group

Plastic grocery store bagScissors

Procedure, component 1

Charged plastic and charged skinCut 2 strips native a plastic grocery bag so that each is around 2–4 cm vast and around 20 centimeter long.

Hold the plastic piece firmly at one end. Then understand the plastic strip in between the thumb and fingers that your various other hand as shown.

Quickly pull your peak hand up so that the plastic piece runs with your fingers. Do this three or 4 times.Allow the piece to cave down. Then bring your various other hand close to it. Create “attract” or “repel” in the graph on the activity sheet to describe what happened.

Expected outcomes

The plastic will be attracted to your hand and also move toward it. Student may notice that the plastic is likewise attracted to their arms and also sleeves. Permit students recognize that later in this lesson they will certainly investigate why the plastic strip is likewise attracted to surface that have actually not to be charged (neutral).


Note: If students uncover that your plastic strip does not move toward their hand, it have to not have been charged well enough. Have actually them shot charging your plastic piece by hold it down on your pants or shirt and also then conveniently pulling it through the other hand. Then they need to test to watch if the plastic is attracted to your clothes. If not, student should shot charging the plastic again.


Have students investigate what happens once a rubbed plastic strip is organized near a desk or chair.

Procedure, part 2

Charged plastic and also neutral deskCharge one strip of plastic the same means you walk previously.

This time, bring the plastic strip toward your workdesk or chair.

Write “attract” or “repel” in the chart.

Expected results

The plastic moves toward the desk.

Explain to students why the plastic is attracted to the desk. The answer bring away a pair of steps, so you can guide students by drawing or projecting a amplified illustration of the plastic and desk.

After pulling the plastic in between their fingers, the plastic profit extra electrons and also a negative charge. The workdesk has the same number of protons as electrons and also is neutral. Once the plastic it s okay close to the desk, the negatively charged plastic repels electrons on the surface of the desk. This renders the surface of the workdesk near the plastic slightly positive. The negatively charged plastic is attractive to this hopeful area, therefore the plastic moves towards it.


Have student charge 2 pieces that plastic and also hold them close to each various other to watch if electron repel one other.

Ask students to make a prediction:

What carry out you think will take place if you charge two strips the plastic and also bring them near each other?

Procedure, component 3

2 pieces of charged plasticCharge 2 strips the plasticSlowly lug the 2 strips of plastic near each other. Write “attract” or “repel” in the chart on the activity sheet.

Expected results

The strips will move away or repel every other. Because both strips have actually extra electron on them, castle each have extra an adverse charge. Since the exact same charges repel one another, the strips relocate away from every other.

Ask students:

What taken place when you carried the 2 pieces the plastic close to each other?The ends of the strips relocated away from each other.Use what friend know about electrons and also charges to explain why this happens.Each strip has extra electron so they room both negative charged. Because like fees repel, the pieces of plastic repelled every other.Explore

Have students apply their understanding of protons and electrons to define what happens once a fee balloon is carried near piece of paper.

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Materials because that each group

Inflated balloonSmall pieces of paper, confetti-size


Rub a balloon on your hair or clothes. Extra Extend

Demonstrate just how electrons can entice a present of water.

Either perform the complying with demonstration or present the video clip Balloon and Water.

Materials because that the demonstration



Rub a balloon on your shirt or pants to give it a static charge. Rotate on the faucet so that there is a an extremely thin currently of water. Slowly carry the charged component of the balloon close to the currently of water.

Expected results

The stream of water need to bend together it is attractive to the balloon.

Ask students:

What did friend observe as soon as the fee balloon was hosted near the present of water?The currently of water bent towards the balloon. Use what girlfriend know about electrons, protons, and also charges to explain why this happens.When you obstacle the balloon on your hair or clothes it picks up extra electrons, giving the balloon a an adverse charge. As soon as you lug the balloon near the stream of water, the electron from the balloon defeat the electrons in the water. Since much more protons space at the surface ar of the water, it has actually a confident change. Opposites attract, for this reason the water moves toward the balloon.