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The Activity Director's Office
Current Activities in Longterm Care
Kate Lynch, Editor
Music: "On the Sunny Side of the Street" furnished by Heart and Soul Music "Providing Quality Music for Nursing Homes"
Ever Wondered....
How does static electricity work?

Short Answer:
An imbalance between negative and positive charges in objects.

Long Answer:
Have you ever walked across the room to pet your dog, but got a shock instead?  Perhaps you took
your hat off on a dry winter’s day and had a “hair raising” experience!  Or, maybe you have made a
balloon stick to the wall after rubbing it against your clothes?

Why do these things happen?  Is it magic?  No, it’s not magic; it’s static electricity!

Before understanding static electricity, we first need to understand the basics of atoms and

All physical objects are made up of atoms.  Inside an atom are protons, electrons, and neutrons.  
The protons are positively charged, the electrons are negatively charged, and the neutrons are
Therefore, all things are made up of charges.  Opposite charges attract each other (negative to
positive).  Like charges repel each other (positive to positive or negative to negative).  Most of the
time, positive and negative charges are balanced in an object, which makes that object neutral.

Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object.  
These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or
discharged.  One way to discharge them is through a circuit.

The rubbing of certain materials against one another can transfer negative charges, or electrons.  
For example, if you rub your shoe on the carpet, your body collects extra electrons.  The electrons
cling to your body until they can be released.  As you reach and touch your furry friend, you get a
shock.  Don’t worry; it is only the surplus electrons being released from you to your unsuspecting

And what about that “hair raising” experience?  As you remove your hat, electrons are transferred
from hat to hair, creating that interesting hairdo!  Remember, objects with the same charge repel
each other.  Because they have the same charge, your hair will stand on end.  Your hairs are
simply trying to get as far away from each other as possible!

When you rub a balloon against your clothes and it sticks to the wall, you are adding a surplus of
electrons (negative charges) to the surface of the balloon.  The wall is now more positively charged
than the balloon.  As the two come in contact, the balloon will stick because of the rule that
opposites attract (positive to negative).

NEW!!!  Check out our new forum!
Activity-Pro (Your Online Neighborhood) Forum is a friendly, easy to use,
online community that all Activity Professionals can join. In the
neighborhood, participants are encouraged to share ideas, thoughts, jobs,
and questions with others. By everyone participating, we hope to bring
more Activity Professional’s together than ever before. The neighborhood
is comfortable and open, making everyone feel right at home. Activity-Pro is
an open board that will provide support and understanding to those in a
crusade to help seniors or those loosing spark to come up with another
activity. Come join Activity-Pro (Your Online Neighborhood) and make your
contribution to bringing Activity Professionals to the top.

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