Static Electricity

The Static Electricity worksheet from MatchCard Science compares static and current electricity and guides students' exploration of negative charges.

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static electricity worksheet

Light & Energy Unit Study

What is Static Electricity?

Objective: Compare static and current electricity.

A static charge is a negative charge that stays on the surface of an item. It occurs because electrons attached to the surface of the object. The negatively charged object then attracts other objects.

This MatchCard compares static and current electricity. You may want to review the Electrical Circuit MatchCard (MatchCard #9) in order to compare static and current electricity.

MatchCard: Download below.

Print the Static Electricity MatchCard

Static Electricity Worksheet homeschool curriculum download arrow
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This is MatchCard #10 of the Light and Energy Unit Study. Find more information on MatchCard Science below.


Get a Charge

First we want to charge the surface of an object. Here are some common objects used for these demonstrations:
How do we charge these objects? You will need to rub the object against an object that is usually already charged. Here are common objects:

Let's Experiment

Here are some fun ways to demonstrate static electricity:

Get Charged

Gets a Positive Charge

These materials give up their negative electrons (resulting in a positive charge on their surface)
Listed in the order of greatest ability to give up electrons to least ability

Gets A Negative Charge

These materials accept new electrons (resulting in a negative charge on their surface)
Listed in order of greatest ability to accept more electrons to least ability to accept new electrons

Neutral Charge

Cotton is a neutral material: it neither accepts or gives up electrons.
Acrylic (plexiglass) and wood are almost neutral. They can become charged with friction.

Using Friction Rods

Friction rods can be made or purchased for static electricity experiments.

Glass Rods - Your glass rods have a tendency to give up their negative electrons and become positively charged. Use them with the items on the negative list (like styrofoam.)

Rubber - Rubber rods have a tendence to accept electrons and become negatively charged. Use them with items in the positive list (like nylon, fur, or human hair.)

Plexiglass - Plexiglass or acrylic rods are neutral so technically can be used with positive or negative items.

Three Step Plexiglass Rod Demonstration

1. Scatter pieces of tissue paper on a table top. Touch them with your neutral acrylic rod. Nothing happens. (You can also use pepper rather than tissue paper.)

2. Rub the acrylic rod with fur, silk, or wool. The acrylic takes electrons from the cloth and has a slight negative charge.

3. Touch the negatively charged rod to the tissue paper. The positive paper will stick to the negative rod.

It won't take long for the rod to become neutralized again as those extra electrons on it find some other place in the environment to go.

MatchCard Science

How To Use MatchCards


MatchCards make science concepts and corresponding vocabulary interactive. As students move the information pieces on the MatchCards they review the material they have already learned.

Download the FREE MatchCard Science Instructor's Guide and see how MatchCards can make building their science knowledge base fun.

Light and Energy Unit Study

Light & Energy Unit Study Cover

Kids will be energized to learn more about how the world works as they learn about light, magnetic energy, heat energy, electrical energy, thermal energy, kinetic energy and more. .

Download the entire Light and Energy unit study.

12 Science Unit Studies

MatchCard Science Cover

Chemistry is only one of twelve complete unit studies for kids in 3rd to 8th grade.

Comprehensive objectives, hands-on projects, suggested science fair experiments, and the fun game-like MatchCards keep them interested in learning science. See all twelve MatchCard Science Unit Studies.

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