Electricity and Magnetism


Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • An envelope
  • A Polo mint or similar sugary sweet
  • Roll of sticky tape
  • A dark room
  • A friend or mirror


  1. Wait about five minutes in a dark room so that your eyes become dark adapted and you can make out some objects
  2. Rip open the seal of the envelope – you will see a bluish glow
  3. Try crunching a sweet with your mouth open or ripping a piece of sticky tape off the roll

Results and Explanation

Cracking sugar or ripping apart glued surfaces separates positive and negative electrical charges. When they recombine the surrounding air is excited, producing flash of bluish light.

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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is used in analyses relating to Ionisation
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