It's Magic!

Can you make a paper figure stand up straight without touching it?   Even better, can you make it stand on its head...   or dance? 

Here is a fun lesson in static electricity!   Rub an inflated balloon on top of your head, or on the carpet, or a wool sweater, and see what happens to your little paper cut-out figure!

Static electricity is the buildup of electrical charges on the surface of some object or material. Static electricity is usually created when materials are pulled apart or rubbed together, causing positive (+) charges to collect on one material and negative (−) charges on the other surface. Results from static electricity may be sparks, shocks or materials clinging together.

It is called "static" because there is no current flowing.

When the balloon is rubbed against a wool sweater or hair, the balloon collects negative electrical charges on its surface and the wool or hair collects positive charges.  Your hair ends up with an excess of positive charges.  Since like charges repel each other, the hair strands will push away from each other.

Here's a fun idea!   Cut out a bunch of colorful paper men and watch them all dance!

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