Earth science experiments are a fun and practical way to study the Earth’s processes. This is a great category to choose if you are interested in things like fossils, minerals, rocks, earthquakes, volcanoes, weather, oceans, marine life or prehistoric creatures. Lightning is one phenomenon that appeals to a lot of people and can make a fun topic for an experiment. Lightning is not only beautiful, inspiring poetry and paintings, but can also be very destructive, often causing city wide power outages and raging forest fires. The average lightning bolt is only about five kilometers long and about the width of a finger, but it heats the surrounding air to a temperature five times hotter than the surface of the Sun. It produces enough energy to power a 100 watt light bulb for three months.
Fun Earth science experiments can include creating lightning in a pan. In addition to adult supervision, you will need an aluminum pie plate, a ball point pen, a thumb tack, a wool sock and a piece of Styrofoam. To get started you will need to push the thumb tack up through the center of the pie plate, and then push the end of the pen onto the tack. You may have to secure it with glue if it will not stay on its own. Next, you will rub the Styrofoam quickly with the wool sock, and then pick up the aluminum pie plate with the pen. Place it down on top of the Styrofoam. Be sure not to touch the pie plate with your hands. Turn off the lights and slowly bring your fingers close to the pie plate. You should hear, feel and see a tiny spark. You have just created your very own lightning bolt!