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Electricity Science Fair Project

Making Lightning in a Pan

Making Lightning in a Pan | Science Fair Projects | STEM Projects
Have you ever wanted to make your own lightning? Now you can! With just a few simple materials, you can create a miniature version of a lightning bolt.


The hypothesis is that rubbing the styrofoam with the wool sock will create a negative charge that will repel electrons on the pie plate.

Method & Materials

You will push the thumb tack up through the centre of the pie plate, push the end of the pen onto the tack, rub the styrofoam quickly with the wool sock, pick up the aluminum pie plate with the pen and put it down on top of the styrofoam, and turn out the lights and slowly bring your finger close to the pie plate.
You will need an aluminum pie plate, ball-point pen, thumb tack, wool sock, and piece of styrofoam.


When you bring your finger close to the edge of the plate, the repelled electrons jump across the gap and escape through your body, giving you a small shock. When you turn off the lights, you should be able to see (as well as hear and feel) the discharge.

Why do this project?

This science project is so interesting and unique because it allows you to create your own miniature version of a lightning bolt with just a few simple materials.

Also Consider

Experiment variations to consider include using different materials to create the negative charge, such as a balloon or a comb, and using different materials for the pie plate, such as copper or glass.

Full project details

You can find additional information and details for this science fair project here. Have fun exploring!

Related video

Hey there! Here are some awesome videos about this science project that we think you'll really like. They're not only super fun, but they'll also help you learn more about the science behind the project. So sit back, relax, and get ready to have some fun!!
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