Related Labs, Activities, and Other CoolStuff
Safely create and explore lightning right in your classroom. The Plasma Globe offers you a safe, fascinating way to demonstrate how lightning works as well as explain the concepts of potential differences and electron orbital jumping.
A small Tesla coil produces a large potential difference between it and the glass of the surrounding globe, similar to a cloud and its potential difference with the ground.
This potential difference uses inert gases inside the globe to complete a circuit. When the potential difference is large enough, the gas becomes ionized and electrons jump to the glass - just like when electrons jump from the clouds to the ground. The result? Bright, harmless, violet lightning bolts that respond to touch and sound. 120v 60hz.
Plasma Globe Activities and Uses:
Use the plasma globe to study plasmas and electrical discharges.
A sample activity from the datasheet is given below.
The first thing you and your students will notice about the sphere is that by placing a conductor (your finger will do nicely) near the surface of the globe, the streams of plasma seem attracted to it. Since the plasma streams are composed of ionized gas molecules, these charged particles are attracted to an uncharged object, similar to the way a charged balloon is attracted to a neutral object (like the wall of your room). You may want to encourage your students to experiment and see if they can attract more streams with different types of conductors or insulators. (How about a magnet?)
In using this product, national and states' science education standards are covered. Some examples are provided here. These are representative. However, check with your state to find the exact standards.
Each kind of atom or molecule can gain or lose energy only in particular discrete amounts and thus can absorb and emit light only at wavelengths corresponding to these amounts. These wavelengths can be used to identify the substance.
Describe and explain the structural parts and electrical charges of atoms.
Students know plasmas, the fourth state of matter, contain ions or free electrons or both and conduct electricity.
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