First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need. Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:
• A balloon
• A fluorescent light bulb
• A dark room
• Parental supervision
Are you ready? Let’s get started. The first thing you’ll need to do is to take the fluorescent light bulb and the balloon into a dark room. Charge the balloon by rubbing it on your hair or on your sweater. You will need to rub it quickly and repeatedly to build up a lot of charge for this experiment. Very carefully, touch the charged balloon to the light bulb. When doing this, please make sure that you have adult supervision just in case the light bulb happens to break. What happened? You should see some small sparks in the light bulb.
So how did the light bulb spark or light? When the charged balloon touched the bulb, electrons passed from the balloon to the bulb causing the bulb to emit small sparks of light. Under normal circumstances, the light bulb would receive the electrons from the electric power lines through a wire at the end of the tube. Cool, huh?
Here is another idea that you could do to change up the project a little bit and see what happens. You could try a rubber comb for this experiment rather than a balloon. Does it have the same effect on the light bulb?