Physics Van - Human Charges
- Two red hats
- One blue hat
- Two Physics Van members
- Electricity is made up of two opposite kinds of charges
(officially called positive and negative).
- It doesnt matter what you call them, the important part is that they are
opposite. We'll can call them Red and Blue since we have hats of these
- Like charges repel. Opposite charges attract.
- Older audiences already know about charges. You may want to
eliminate this demo for audiences that don't have kids younger than 5th
grade or so.
- Make sure the "charges" agree on what they're going to do when they meet,
so they don't collide or get confused and look dumb.
Things to talk about:
- This is the first electricity demo. Tell the audience were
switching gears and were going to talk about how electricity works.
- Ask them for examples of things that use electricity.
- Ask if anyone knows what electricity is made of.
- Electricity is made up of tiny little things that we call charges.
- There are two different kinds of charges. Most scientists call them Positive and
Negative, but the names don't really matter. We can call them Red and Blue.
- The most important thing to remember about charges is that charges that are the same
want to get as far away from each other as they can; and charges that are different want
to get as close together as they can.
- Get two Van volunteers and tell the kids that you're going to make them both
"Red" charges by putting the red hats on them.
- Once the charges are activated, they should proceed to run in opposite directions and
hide from each other.
- As you walk over to one charge, tell the audience that youre going to switch one
of the Red charges so theyre a Blue charge, and see what happens.
- Change the red hat for blue, and as the charges run together, restate that opposite
charges want to be close together, and like charges try to be far apart.
- Break up the charges dancing around before it makes everyone sick.
Click here for the Adobe
PDF version of this demo (text only), for printing purposes.