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Safely reinvent Benjamin Franklin’s lightning bells with this enlightening experiment!

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Where would we be today without electricity? Give your students a memorable understanding of the transfer of electric charge with this history-inspired activity! Students gain appreciation for the process of scientific invention and discovery through a simple setup and procedure that involves the use of a lightning rod, Van de Graaff Generator and metal bells. Safely reinvent Benjamin Franklin’s lightning bells with this enlightening experiment!

Complete for 24 students working in groups of 3. A Van de Graaff Generator is required and available separately.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS2.B: Types of Interactions
HS-PS2.B: Types of Interactions
HS-PS3.C: Relationship between Energy and Forces

Crosscutting Concepts

Systems and system models
Energy and matter

Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-5. Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact
HS-PS2-4. Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.
HS-PS3-5. Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction.