Electricity and Magnetism

Electric Dill

Enrichment Activity for 5-11

What you need

  • A saucer
  • Vegetable oil
  • Dried dill
  • Balloon


  1. Pour the vegetable oil into the saucer so it’s about 0.5 cm deep and sprinkle the dill liberally over it
  2. Rub the inflated balloon against your hair or jumper and bring it close to the dill

Results and Explanation

The dill will follow the balloon as you move it about. Some might even leap up to meet the balloon!

Rubbing the balloon makes it negatively charged and this induces a positive charge in the dill. The attraction between the balloon and dill can be large enough to overcome gravity. 

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

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