SPOOKtacular dancing

How to make dancing ghost for Halloween

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion.

Equip­ment and reagents

  • pa­per tow­el;
  • scis­sors;
  • bal­loon;
  • tape.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Cut some ghosts out of a pa­per tow­el and tape them to a ta­ble. Rub a bal­loon vig­or­ous­ly on your hair and hold it close to the pa­per ghosts. They be­gin to dance!

Pro­cess­ de­scrip­tion

Ev­ery­thing around us is ul­ti­mate­ly made of atoms, which in turn are com­posed large­ly of charged par­ti­cles known as pro­tons and elec­trons. Pro­tons are pos­i­tive­ly charged, while elec­trons are neg­a­tive­ly charged. Nor­mal­ly, they com­pen­sate for each oth­er, re­sult­ing in an ob­ject with a neu­tral charge. When two ob­jects are sub­ject­ed to fric­tion­al forces against each oth­er, the sur­face atoms lay­er of one ob­ject can give some of its ex­ter­nal elec­trons to the oth­er. The ob­ject that gives up elec­trons gains a pos­i­tive charge and the ob­ject that ac­cepts elec­trons gains a neg­a­tive charge. When we rub a bal­loon on our hair, its sur­face ac­cepts some elec­trons and it thus ac­quires a neg­a­tive charge. An elec­tric field ap­pears around it, which can af­fect pos­i­tive­ly- and neu­tral­ly-charged ob­jects. This is why the pa­per ghosts are at­tract­ed to the bal­loon.

Go be­yond phys­i­cal ex­per­i­ments! Per­form chem­istry ex­per­i­ments at home with sets from the MEL Chem­istry sub­scrip­tion!