THE SCIENCE LAB

Make & Do Activity Kit

Static electric snake
This quick and fun experiment uses the power of static electricity to turn you into a snake charmer!

Time: 15 minutes Difficulty: Hints: This experiment works best in low

humidity. Decorate with pencils only as felt tip pens contain moisture. Keep out of drafts.

1. Place a dinner plate face down onto your sheet of
tissue paper. Mark around the outside with a pencil to create a circle.

2. Cut the circle out with scissors.

What you will need for each snake:
• 1x sheet of white or coloured tissue paper • a plastic ruler • pens or pencils to decorate your snake • a woollen scarf or jumper or polar fleece • a plate • scissors

from the outside, 3. Startingspiral all the way draw a to the middle finishing with your snakes head. Decorate with coloured pencils. out along the 4. Cut your snakedrawn. Place lines you have your snake back into its curled up position.

Note: We found that the polar fleece built up a static

charge faster for us. This will depend on the environment in which you’re working so do some experiments to compare results. This step may need adult help as this experiment works best when the rubbing is done hard and fast.

the plastic 5. Rub the woollenruler fast into scarf or jumper or polar fleece fabric for 1-2 minutes to build up a static charge.

6. Hover the ruler just above the snakes head. The snake
will ‘stick’ to the ruler. Lift it slowly and the snake will follow! Now you’re a snake charmer!
500 Harris St Ultimo PO Box K346 Haymarket NSW 1238 Australia Tel: 02 6217 0111 http://play.powerhousemuseum.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialShareAlike 2.5 License.

THE SCIENCE LAB

Make & Do Activity Kit

Static electric snake charmer

Page 2

Snakes:
Did you know?

Static electricity:
What’s going on?
When you rub the plastic ruler vigorously onto the wool or polar fleece fabric, tiny particles of wool stick to the ruler. These particles have built up energy in the form of an electric charge that will attract the tissue paper when it gets close. The charge then transfers to the tissue paper and is just strong enough to lift the light tissue paper.

• Snakes can’t chew their food and their jaws are very flexible to allow them to swallow their food whole. • Snake skin is dry and smooth to touch. As a snake grows it sheds its old skin a few times a year. • Snakes have no eyelids. • Snakes are carnivores; they only eat meat. • Around 3000 different species of snakes have been found.

What else can I do?
Static charges can get much stronger than this though! Did you know that static electricity is what causes lightening? A lightening strike is hotter than the surface of the sun! Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you take off a jumper over your head there is a crackling sound? If you’re in the dark you may also notice tiny sparks too. This is a static charge that has built up and is being released between the jumper and your hair, like miniature lightening bolts.

What else can you find?
There are may more interesting facts about our snake friends. Use the space below to record what you find.

500 Harris St Ultimo PO Box K346 Haymarket NSW 1238 Australia

Tel: 02 6217 0111 http://play.powerhousemuseum.com

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialShareAlike 2.5 License.

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