DIY Lightning Experiment! Make a Shocking Capacitor

If you need a project to add a little spark to your physics class, why not build a capacitor? A video from a larger physics playlist demonstrates how a capacitor works and how to make one from easily sourced materials. As an added bonus, viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at the build as well as device testing.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Additional Tags
Instructional Ideas
  • Show the video as a how-to resource for a pairs or group project
  • Have class members experiment with different materials to see who can create the best capacitor
Classroom Considerations
  • To follow the video, viewers should know a little about conductivity and electric fields
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
  • The narrator and her assistant explain the capacitor build very thoroughly
  • An animation explains how the capacitor charges using simple terms
  • None
Common Core