Day 57: Sticky Tape Lab

For Day 57, we jumped into Unit 5 with the sticky tape lab! In this lab, students observe the interactions between two pieces of charged tape and other neutral items like foil, paper and whatever students can find on their desks. I always challenge students to rub a pen on their friend’s head see what happens.


This lab provides evidence that there must be a mobile, charged particle within atoms because atoms themselves are neutral. It is fairly easy to explain then how the tape became charged. What is more difficult for students to explain is how neutral items like foil and paper are attracted to the charged tape. I like the “Balloons and Static Electricity” PhET to help explain this. I also love “John Travoltage” to explain static electricity shocks and gas pump safety. I also show Veritassium’s videos on Thomson’s cathode ray tube and plum pudding model.

By the end of the Sticky Tape lab discussion, we have learned the vocab terms electron and ion. We have also amended the model of our atom to include electrons (plum pudding model).


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