Key Concepts

Atoms room made of extremely tiny particles dubbed protons, neutrons, and also electrons.Protons and neutrons room in the facility of the atom, making up the nucleus.Electrons surround the nucleus.Protons have a optimistic charge.Electrons have a an unfavorable charge.The fee on the proton and also electron are exactly the exact same size yet opposite.Neutrons have actually no charge.Since opposite dues attract, protons and also electrons lure each other.

You are watching: Would you expect two electrons to attract or repel each other


Students will placed a static charge on a strip of plastic through pulling it in between their fingers. Castle will view that the plastic is attractive to your fingers. Students will be introduced to the idea the rubbing the strip through their fingers brought about electrons to move from your skin to the plastic providing the plastic a negative charge and also their skin a positive charge. Through these activities, students will be presented to several of the characteristics of electrons, protons, and neutrons, which consist of atoms.


Students will be able to explain, in regards to electrons and protons, why a charged thing is attractive or repelled by one more charged object. Lock will likewise be able to describe why a charged object can even be attracted to an uncharged object. Students will also be may be to explain that the attraction in between positive protons and an unfavorable electrons hold an atom together.


Download the student task sheet, and also distribute one per student as soon as specified in the activity. The activity sheet will serve as the “Evaluate” ingredient of every 5-E lesson plan.


Be certain you and the students wear effectively fitting goggles.

Materials for Each Group

Plastic grocery store bagScissorsInflated balloonSmall pieces of paper, confetti-size

Materials because that Demonstration

Sink Balloon

Do an activity to show that electrons and protons lure each other.

Students deserve to see proof of the dues of protons and also electrons by law an activity with revolution electricity.

Note: once two materials are rubbed together in a static electrical power activity, one product tends to shed electrons if the other material tends to get electron. In this activity, human skin tends to shed electrons if the plastic bag, make of polyethylene, tends to acquire electrons.

Question come investigate

What provides objects tempt or repel every other?

Materials because that each group

Plastic grocery store bagScissors

Procedure, component 1

Charged plastic and also charged skinCut 2 strips native a plastic grocery store bag so the each is around 2–4 cm broad and around 20 cm long.

Hold the plastic piece firmly in ~ one end. Then grasp the plastic strip in between the thumb and also fingers that your other hand together shown.

Quickly traction your peak hand up so the the plastic strip runs v your fingers. Do this three or 4 times.Allow the strip to cave down. Then bring your various other hand near it. Create “attract” or “repel” in the graph on the activity sheet to explain what happened.

Expected outcomes

The plastic will be attractive to her hand and move towards it. College student may notice that the plastic is likewise attracted to their arms and sleeves. Let students know that later in this great they will certainly investigate why the plastic strip is likewise attracted to surfaces that have not been charged (neutral).


Note: If students uncover that your plastic piece does not move toward their hand, it must not have been charged fine enough. Have actually them shot charging your plastic strip by holding it under on their pants or shirt and then easily pulling it through the other hand. Climate they need to test to watch if the plastic is attractive to your clothes. If not, student should shot charging the plastic again.


Have students inspection what happens once a rubbed plastic piece is hosted near a desk or chair.

Procedure, part 2

Charged plastic and also neutral deskCharge one piece of plastic the same way you walk previously.

This time, bring the plastic strip towards your workdesk or chair.

Write “attract” or “repel” in the chart.

Expected results

The plastic moves toward the desk.

Explain to students why the plastic is attracted to the desk. The answer takes a pair of steps, so you can guide students by illustration or projecting a amplified illustration the the plastic and desk.

After pulling the plastic between their fingers, the plastic profit extra electrons and also a negative charge. The workdesk has the same number of protons together electrons and is neutral. As soon as the plastic gets close come the desk, the negatively charged plastic repels electron on the surface of the desk. This renders the surface of the workdesk near the plastic slightly positive. The negatively fee plastic is attractive to this optimistic area, for this reason the plastic moves towards it.


Have student charge two pieces the plastic and hold them near each other to see if electron repel one other.

Ask students to do a prediction:

What do you think will take place if you charge two strips of plastic and bring them near each other?

Procedure, part 3

2 pieces of fee plasticCharge 2 strips that plasticSlowly lug the 2 strips of plastic close to each other. Create “attract” or “repel” in the graph on the activity sheet.

Expected results

The strips will relocate away or repel each other. Because both strips have extra electron on them, castle each have actually extra an unfavorable charge. Since the exact same charges loss one another, the strips move away from every other.

Ask students:

What taken place when you brought the two pieces the plastic near each other?The end of the strips relocated away from each other.Use what girlfriend know around electrons and charges to explain why this happens.Each strip has actually extra electrons so they space both negatively charged. Since like dues repel, the piece of plastic repelled each other.Explore

Have students apply their knowledge of protons and also electrons to define what happens as soon as a fee balloon is carried near piece of paper.

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Materials for each group

Inflated balloonSmall piece of paper, confetti-size


Rub a balloon on her hair or clothes. Extra Extend

Demonstrate exactly how electrons can lure a currently of water.

Either execute the adhering to demonstration or present the video clip Balloon and Water.

Materials for the demonstration



Rub a balloon on your shirt or trousers to provide it a revolution charge. Rotate on the faucet so the there is a really thin currently of water. Slowly lug the charged component of the balloon close to the present of water.

Expected results

The stream of water should bend as it is attracted to the balloon.

Ask students:

What did girlfriend observe once the fee balloon was organized near the stream of water?The stream of water bent towards the balloon. Usage what you know around electrons, protons, and also charges to describe why this happens.When you obstacle the balloon on your hair or garments it choose up extra electrons, offering the balloon a an unfavorable charge. Once you lug the balloon near the present of water, the electron from the balloon repel the electron in the water. Since more protons room at the surface ar of the water, it has a confident change. Opposites attract, for this reason the water moves towards the balloon.