STREAM Activity: International Women in Engineering Day

Get "charged up" with this static electricity activity!

Activity best for children age 2 and up

Engineers are problem solvers who solve all kinds of obstacles. There are lots of different types of engineers: mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, environmental engineers, computer engineers- just to name a few! Today we are celebrating women who become engineers and help the world to be a better place. 

One type of engineer is an electrical engineer, they think and make things that use electricity in a helpful way. Electrical engineers will work on and with computers to solve problems. Kimberly Bryant is an electrical engineer who founded a company called Black Girls Code to help underrepresented young girls get trained in computer coding.

This fun static electricity activity will get you all “charged up” about electricity and get you asking questions and thinking like an engineer!

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Materials you’ll need:

A white balloon



A small plate

Guiding Questions:

What will happen to the mixed salt and pepper?

What is the force that is making this reaction happen?

Where else can we find electricity?


Have a grown-up blow up the balloon and tie a knot in it.

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Pour some salt on a plate and then add some pepper. Mix the salt and pepper together.

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Rub the balloon on a sweater or wool blanket. Rub it on the sweater or wool blanket for about 20 seconds. You are making static electricity!

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Take the balloon that has the static electricity and hold it very close to the salt and pepper, but don’t let the balloon touch the salt and pepper!

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You should see and hear the pepper going on to the balloon. The static electricity that is on the balloon is attracting the pepper. Since pepper is lighter than salt, it sticks to the balloon!

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Grown Ups-Are you looking for more ways to extend your child’s learning? Check out these extension activities to build upon today’s STREAM activity!

Reading Connections: 

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

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Science Connections: 

Static electricity is all around us. Try rubbing the balloon on your hair and then slowly lifting the balloon away from your hair. What happens to your hair?

Real-World Connections:

What can you find in your house that uses electricity? What would happen if the electricity went out and we could not use the stove to cook or the fridge to keep things cold? Can you become an engineer and design something to cook food without electricity ? How about keeping things cold without a fridge.