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Activity 1: Electric charges Strategies

Read the information and then answer the questions.

  1. When and where can electric charges build up?
  2. What is the cause of an electric charge building up?
  3. What causes you to feel an electric shock?

What is electricity?
Lightning is a form of electricity. During a thunderstorm, electrical charge builds up on a cloud to a point where the cloud 'discharges' and we see a lightning bolt.

The electrical charge that builds up on the cloud consists of many billions of extremely small particles called electrons, each of which carries a tiny amount of electric charge.

A similar effect can sometimes be felt when you walk across a new carpet on a dry day. If you touch a metal door handle, you may experience an electric shock.

The shock you feel is billions of electrons jumping from your body to the door handle. You may even see them as a small spark jumping from your hand to the door handle. The spark is just like a lightning bolt but on a very small scale.

The shock occurs because you have become electrically charged with billions of electrons as you walked across the carpet.

What we call an electric current or electricity is the flow of electric charge. Therefore, lightning and sparks that are part of the electric shock you feel are a very short-lived electric current.

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