Posted by: Diane | March 13, 2012

March Breaks Are For Science Projects

The big science fair is coming up and Phoenie’s mother..I mean, Phoenie had to come up with an ingenious Grade 2 science experiment. As he read through some science books and looked online, he decided on the following challenge:

DOES THE COLOR OF HAIR AFFECT HOW MUCH STATIC ELECTRICITY IT CAN CARRY?

The three of us spent the morning with a delightful family that provided a colorful representation of brown, blond, grey (or should I say, “ash highlights”?) and red hair. My daughter provided the dyed hair. It was a “one stop” visit, Phoenie’s hypothesis was tested and we all had fun together.

Step 1 – Make an electroscope.

We gathered all the materials needed – aluminum pan, styrofoam cup, a dab of clay, a straw, thread and a styrofoam plate. This was a very technical and crucial part of the experiment. Everyone needed to  concentrate.

Step 2 – Blow up balloons.
Of course, we had to digress from these methodical steps because there had to be the token couple of minutes of theatrical attempts, making balloons fly all over the room and bouncing balloons on peoples’ heads.   Mom had to step in and get Phoenie to focus on the task at hand.
Step 3 – Rub peoples’ different colored heads. Phoenie had some help and our friends graciously tolerated giggly, goofy little boys and their jokes during the process.
Actually, the electroscope didn’t work as well as we had hoped but Margo did look lovely in her electroscope hat.  We ended up rubbing heads for longer than necessary and of course, I caught all the action on my pretend camera, courtesy of the creative Christopher. (made of k-nex, which is a childrens’ building toy)
So, the exhilarating, tongue-dropping results are as follows: According to Phoenie’s observations, grey hair was the most static, followed by dyed hair and in last place, came red hair.
The all-important application of this experiment is that grey haired people need more product in their hair.
So, note to self, all ye grey-haired people out there….get that gel going or take the other option – dye your hair and deal with the static!

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