In schools or your Sec 1 science tuition class, you may have learnt about the basic concepts of electricity – current, resistance, potential difference, and circuits, to name a few. But what makes electricity so fascinating and relevant to us? Electricity is all around us, from the lights in our homes to the gadgets we use every day.
If you’re wondering about how to make learning science fun for the topic of electricity, these fun facts can help you along. Perhaps you will learn something new today and spark more curiosity to learn about electricity.
The sky produces electricity too
The next time there’s a thunderstorm, think about how lightning is created. Those awe-inspiring flashes of light are actually caused by electricity that is produced in the atmosphere. When ice and water particles collide, they form charged ions, making some portions of the cloud more positively charged and some areas more negatively charged.
Remember the rule that opposites attract? When the lower part of the cloud is negatively charged, it is attracted to the earth’s ground, which is positively charged. The result is a discharge of electricity that connects from the ground to the cloud. The sound of thunder results from the rapidly expanding air caused by the heat from the lightning, which can be as hot as 30,000°C!
Some fish use electricity to hunt
Did you know that some fish can produce electricity in their bodies? The electric eel can produce shocks of up to 860 volts to stun their prey. They also use a weaker type of electricity to locate their prey and complement their poor vision. Some other species of fish, like the catfish, can also generate electricity, but none are as strong as the electric eel.
Electric eels, native to South America, contain three pairs of electric organs that enable them to generate electricity. They were first studied by researchers in 1775 and inspired the invention of the electrical battery in 1800.
The shocking case of static electricity
The classic example never grows old: rub a balloon on your shirt and put it above your hair. Your hair will be lifted as if magnetically sticking to the balloon.
The explanation lies in static electricity. Usually, static electricity is generated by friction – that rubbing motion of the balloon against your clothes transfers negative charges to the surface of the balloon. When lifted above your hair, your hair rises up because they are more positively charged and are attracted to the balloon.
Sometimes, you can actually feel static when you touch someone else’s arm or even your pet. That’s because your hand becomes negatively charged when rubbed against your clothes. When you touch someone else, the electricity discharges, resulting in a small electric shock that you can feel – sometimes you can even hear or see it!
There’s so much we can learn about electricity – even from nature. In our daily lives, electricity is also present all around us in the devices that we use. Those are plenty of reasons to be interested in learning more about electricity.
Take a deep dive into the world of science at our science tuition centre in Singapore, available for both primary and secondary school science students. Through modular structured learning and our TCR answering technique, we can supercharge you towards better grades for science!