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Static Crowns

Who doesn’t get a charge out of wearing a balloon hat?

In this make and take, students can get creative as they make their own balloon hats and explore the properties of static electricity.

If you've ever rubbed a balloon on your head or tried wearing a balloon hat, you may have noticed that strands of your hair can start to repel each other leaving your hair looking quite messy. This is because electrons move from the atoms and molecules in your hair, onto the balloon.

Electrons have a negative charge, so the balloon becomes negatively charged, and your hair is left with a positive charge. Since like charges repel each other, this causes the strands of hair to spread away from each other.

Objectives

  • Explain how static charge causes materials to attract or repel each other.

Materials

  • Per Student:
    1-2 Long tube balloons
    Thick markers
    Balloon pump (optional)

Key Questions

  • Why does the balloon hat give you crazy hair?

What To Do

  1. Hand out 1 or 2 long tube balloons to each student. Ask students blow up their balloons. If the students cannot blow up the tube balloon by themselves, use a balloon pump. Make sure the balloons aren’t too full of air before tying the knot.
  2. Have students design their very own crazy-hair hat! Show them a video of how to start making a balloon hat.

Tip: Use one balloon to wrap around and across the top of the head.The second balloon can then be used to create a unique crazy-hair hat.

  1. Decorate the crazy hair hats using markers.

Extensions

  • Try out some other fancy balloon hats designs including a tripod and flower.