Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students experiment with ‘bending’ water using static electricity.

These Snappy Science resources have been created to boost science education in primary schools across Australia. Each lesson is designed to support teachers with the scientific knowledge, ideas and resources to stimulate a sense of wonder and curiosity in their students. Many of the big issues that Australian society will face in the future are around technology, energy, resources and climate change. All of these require students to engage with science – but most of all to enjoy science!

Science at Home: These Snappy Science resources can also be used to engage families in fun science and learning for life. You can download a student friendly version of this activity here and you can also check out the Snappy Science Digital Library.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Australian Curriculum content description: This activity is relevant to Science Inquiry Skills across all primary year levels of the Australian Curriculum.

Year 1 Science

  • Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)

Year 2 Science

  • A push or a pull affects how an object moves or changes shape (ACSSU033)

Year 4 Science

  • Forces can be exerted by one object on another through direct contact or from a distance (ACSSU076)

Syllabus OutcomesST1-12MW, ST1-7PW, ST2-7PW.

Time required: 5-10 minutes.

Resources required: A dry plastic comb, an indoor tap, your hair.

Safety advice: None.

Keywords: Hair, water, static electricity.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Brief summary:

Students experiment with ‘bending’ water using static electricity.

Students can use the Predict, Observe, Explain table on the Student Worksheet to describe and reflect upon this experiment.

You will need:

  • A dry plastic comb
  • An indoor tap
  • Your hair!

What to do:

Step 1. Turn on the tap and turn down the water slowly until you have a VERY thin stream of water.

Step 2. Take the plastic comb and brush it through your hair ten times.

Step 3. Now slowly bring the comb close the flowing water, (without actually touching the water). The stream of water should bend towards the comb.

How does it work?

Brushing your hair with the comb caused tiny parts of the atoms in your hair – the electrons – to collect on the comb. These electrons have a negative charge. Having a negative charge means that the comb is attracted to things that have a positive charge.

When you bring the negatively charged comb near the water it is attracted to the positive force of the water,

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Student Worksheet

In this experiment you will seeing if you can bend water with a comb.


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

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