Taking a little idea and making it BIG!

BY ON Aug 6, 2015

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang and Origin’s littleBIGidea

Exploring Static Electricity - turnig little ideas into BIG ideas


Taking a little idea and making it BIG! Children have limitless imaginations and come up with the most amazing ideas.


Recently while having a bit of fun with left over party balloons and static electricity, it raised some curiosity and interest with my kids to question, experiment and investigate static electricity further.   It is these little ideas that grow into BIG ideas and children are very creative and uninhibited when it comes to great ideas.


If your child has some brilliant ideas bouncing around in their heads, encourage it and inspire them to pursue their ideas and act on them, because these little ideas are a big deal. There is a fabulous opportunity for children (Years 3 to 8) to win a once in a lifetime trip to the USA to visit the NASA Kennedy Space Centre and Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World, thanks to Origin’s littleBIGidea. Read on further to find out how you can enter.


Exploring Static Electricity

What can static electricity lift using a balloon Simple experiment for kids

We all know how much fun it is to make our hair stand up with static electricity and a balloon but what else can you do with static electricity? What other objects can it lift?

  1. First we collected four items to test, fabric squares, sequins, an aluminium can and feathers.
  2. We talked about and predicted which items we thought would be ‘picked up’ by a static balloon. It was decided that the lighter objects such as the fabric and feathers would lift but the tin can and sequins would be too heavy.
  3. Next we experimented and rubbed an inflated balloon against our hair and a woollen fabric scarf. We placed it against one of the objects to see what would happen. We repeated the steps for all other objects.


A New Discovery

Experimenting with static electricity led us to finding that static is an energy, an energy that can create a motion such as to lift or pull things.


The very last object we tested was the aluminium can and placed it on its side on the table. After rubbing the balloon on our hair again we held the balloon close to the can and watched it as it rolled towards it. We slowly moved the balloon away from the can and it will followed. The best way to show what we found out is by creating a video. This video is short and sweet but will give you an idea of how it works.


What is happening?

Why does a feather stick to a static balloon

When you rub a balloon against your hair (or fabric) it creates static electricity. This involves negatively charged particles (electrons) jumping to positively charged objects. When you rub the balloon against your hair it becomes negatively charged, it takes some of the electrons from the hair/fabric and left some positively charged.


In this experiment, opposites attract and the positively charged hair is attracted to the negatively charged balloon and starts to rise up to meet it. This is also shown in the image above with the feather, as the negatively charged balloon becomes near the feather it becomes positively charged and rises up.  


This is also similar to the aluminium can which is drawn to the negatively charged balloon as the area near it becomes positively charged, once again opposites attract pulling the aluminium can towards it.


Imagine the fun games you could come up with using static electricity and rolling aluminium cans!!


 Origin’s littleBIGidea: the big competition for inventive kids

With all this motivation to experiment, question, and investigate our ideas, let me tell you more about this amazing opportunity harnessing the creativity of children, it is called the littleBIGidea competition.


LittleBIGidea is part of Origin’s ‘Energy for Schools’ program, which is a free, online energy education resource for teachers and students. Origin is encouraging innovation and imagination in students Years 3 – 8 to enter their ideas into the littleBIGidea competition to help unearth the nation’s next world-changing invention.


Origin is calling on budding young inventors to enter their ideas into this year’s littleBIGidea competition for a chance to win an innovation trip of a lifetime to NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre and Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World in Florida, USA.


Do you have a littleBIGidea?

littleBIGidea is a national schools competition run by Origin Energy. Photos of ABC Inventors host James McLoghin, with kids from 5L, class Boronia Park Public School, Hunters Hill. Photography by Quentin Jones.

There are no limits on how little or big their idea is. It could be a new invention, an improvement to something that already exists or a clever idea that helps make the world around us a better place. It just needs to be creative, practical and not already exist. Children are encouraged to describe their littleBIGidea in 200 words or less. They can help explain or illustrate their idea with a video, image or diagram.

See more detail at: littleBIGideas Competition


Win a trip to USA with the littleBIGidea competition

If you are in Australia and are the parent, teacher or friend of children in grades three to eight, I encourage you to inspire your children to enter the littleBIGideas competition and help spread the word about littleBIGideas.

This is such an amazing and exciting opportunity for Australian children, schools and educators. See more details at: littleBIGideas Competition


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One Response to “Taking a little idea and making it BIG!”

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