8 Science: Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was an original thinker, scientist, and inventor.  In the summer of 1743, Franklin visiting his home town of Boston, went to a science show.  Where he saw Dr. Archibald Spencer, demonstrating his scientific phenomenons, using static electricity to wow the crowds.  Franklin left the show determined to learn more about electricity.  And using his experiments, including his famous kite experiment, he was able to prove that contrary to popular belief; there was only one kind of electricity, not two, previously  described as one that attracted objects and another kind that pushed the objects away.

EHA Activity Book Definitions:

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Ben Franklin experienced inconvenient or uncomfortable aspects of his life and instead of complaining, sought ways to fix them.  For example, as a child, he wanted to swim more quickly, so he invented swim fins.

  1. Think of something that you would like to do or make better. 
  2. Can you think of a simple solution to fix this? 
  3. Draw the problem or complaint in the first box. 
  4. Draw your solution in the second box. 
  5. Write about your new invention on the lines.



Supplies from the EHA Bag:

  • Balloons
  • aluminum foil

Supplies from the EHA Science Box:

  • Tape
  • Glass
  • Plastic lid that is bigger than the mouth of the glass
  • Wire


  • Discuss the definitions of electricity and ask the student to write short descriptions in their EHA Activity Book
  • Ask students to draw a picture of an example of electricity
  • Blow up the balloons and attach one at chest height to the ceiling with tape
  • Rub the balloons in your hair so they pick up an electrical charge
  • Allow students to hold their balloon close to the hanging balloon and observe what happens
  • Use a cloth to remove the stickiness from the back of the tape
  • Cut a slot in the plastic lid that is small enough to hold the wire in place
  • Twist the wire into a circle leaving 2 inches on the ends and insert into slot
  • Bend the 2 inch ends into 90 degree angles and cut two small pieces of aluminum foil and hang them on the ends
  • Place the lid on the glass so that the aluminum foil is inside
  • Rub the balloon in your hair and place the balloon near but not touching the wire circle observing what happens
  • Repeat but this time letting the balloon touch the wire circle and observe what happens



When you rub balloons in your hair, it picks up some stray electrons from the hair causing the balloons to pick up a negative charge.  So when you attempted to put two balloons to gether that both had a negative charge they repealed because like charges repeal each other.  But when you held the negatively charged balloon it was attracted to the tape;  because the tape lost its negative charge  because the tape lost its electron because it no longer had the sticky residue.  Hence making the tape positively charged and the balloon attracted, because opposite charges attract one another.  Lastly, the two aluminum foil piece inside the glass were moving away from each other because the negatively charged balloon repelled the negatively charged electrons in the wire and foil strips. And when you touched the balloon to the wire circle the strips of aluminum were still repealed even after you pulled the balloon away because the foil strips were so rich with electrons.



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