Lightning at your Fingertips

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Materials Needed:

1 plastic food bag that can be electrified

1 nine-inch aluminum-foil pie plate

1 plastic spoon

Cellophane tape


Step 1:  fold the plastic bag so that it will fit under the pie plate.  Rest the folded bag on a pile of newspaper.

Step 2:  Rub the folded bag briskly with the back of your hand to give it an electric charge.  You will know if the bag is charged when the hair on your arm stands on end.  If this fails, try another plastic bag.

Step 3:  Place the pie plate in the charged bag and then touch the plate with your finger.  Holding the spoon handle, lift the plate off the bag.  The plate is now highly, but harmlessly, charged with electricity.

Step 4:  Bring the knuckle of your index finger slowly toward the plate.  A spark (lightning) should jump from the rim of the plate to your knuckle.  The crackling sound (thunder) accompanies the spark.  If you are in a darker environment it is a lot more noticeable.