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Weather Wednesday – Create Lightning

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This week in your weather Wednesday segment we are going to create lightning. You will need parents to help with this experiment.

What you will need for this experiment will be an aluminum pie pan, a small piece of wool fabric, a Styrofoam plate, pencil, and thumbtack.

How to create lightning…

First: Push the thumbtack through the middle of the pie pan.

Second: Then from the bottom push the eraser end into the thumbtack.

Third: Place the Styrofoam place upside down on the table and quickly rub the plate with the piece of wool for a couple of minutes.

Fourth: Then pick back up the aluminum pie pan by the pencil. Then place it on top of the upside down Styrofoam plate.

Fifth: Careful touch the aluminum pan, you should feel a shock.
If you don't, continue to rub the Styrofoam plate with the wool.

Sixth: Once that initial shock is felt then turn off the lights and touch the pan again, you should be able to see the sparks!

Why this occurs…

Static electricity.

Lightning occurs when electrons are attracted to each other. Typically you need a negative in the clouds and a positive at the surface. In our experiments, the negative is your fingers and the positive in the pie pan.

Lightning forms and strikes all within a second, which is why lightning is so dangerous

Importance of understanding lightning...

Always remember; When thunder roars, head indoors!

If you can hear thunder you are in the range of a lightning strike. So, that is why it's so important to get indoors the first time you hear thunder. Lightning CAN cause fatalities and in 2020 we already have one death due to lightning.

Most deaths due to lightning from 2006 to 2018

Alyssa Triplett

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