Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students ‘charm’ a tissue paper snake using a statically charged plastic ruler.

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 2 Science

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

Year 6 Science

  • Energy from a variety of sources can be used to generate electricity (ACSHE100)

Syllabus OutcomesST1-7PW, ST3-6PW.

Time required: 5 – 10 minutes.

Resources required: Plate, tissue paper, pencil, scissors, plastic ruler, woollen scarf.

Safety advice: This activity requires the use of scissors – depending on student age and ability this activity may be either a student-led experiment or a teacher-led demonstration.

Keywords: Static electricity, snake, charm.

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:

In this activity students ‘charm’ a tissue paper snake using a statically charged plastic ruler.

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

You will need:

  • Plate
  • Tissue paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Plastic ruler
  • Woollen scarf

What to do:

Step 1. Put a plate on a piece of tissue paper and trace around the plate.

Step 2. Cut the circle out and draw a spiral inside the circle. Decorate your spiral as a snake, drawing the eyes in the middle of the spiral.

Step 3. Cut out the spiral.


Step 4. Rub a plastic ruler hard against a woollen scarf for 30 seconds and immediately touch the head of the snake with the ruler.

Step 5. Slowly raise your ruler and you should see your snake rise with your ruler and uncoil.

How does it work?

The build up of static electricity from the woollen scarf and the ruler transfers to the tissue paper, which is enough to lift it up because the tissue

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

In this activity you will try to charm a paper snake with a ruler.


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.