Are you charged with providing a bit of fun for the classroom Halloween party? This activity is shockingly simple, budget-friendly, and it comes with a science lesson, to boot! You will teach kids to harness to power of static electricity to make a tissue paper ghost dance.
The dancing ghost is powered static electricity. Pretty much all you really need for this activity/science demo is a small piece of tissue paper and a balloon per child. It doesn’t get much easier than this, people.
The end result will look something like this:
- Tissue paper cut into 5-inch x 5-inch squares (it’s okay to recycle from those old gift bags)
- Balloons, one per child (if time is tight, you may wish to have these blown and tied before you distribute them)
Give each child a square of tissue paper and have them cut out a ghost shape. No template is needed because the shape can vary from child to child, but you may wish to share an example or two ahead of time.
Have the kids decorate their ghosts with the markers to give them some personality. The students should use a light hand. A damp ghost will be heavy and difficult to charge.
When they’re done, each student should place their ghost down flat on the desk or table.
Have students generate a static charge by rubbing the balloon against their clothes or hair.
Then lower the balloon to the tissue paper ghost. As it approaches, the tissue paper will be attracted by the balloon’s charge and will appear to come to life.
Eventually the ghost will likely affix itself to the balloon.
You can learn more about the science behind the seemingly magical attraction here. To turn this from a mere demonstration to an actual experiment, think about what variables can be changed to change. For example, does it matter if you use a different color balloon? (Hint: no, it shouldn’t, but helps a child understand what a variable is.) What about changing the type of paper or size of your ghost? As time allows, encourage kids to make different ghosts and see what they learn.