Energetic Experiments


Electricityís Force in a Lightning Rod

A really scary thing for people of Benís time was lightning that would strike their homes and the homes would burn down. Ben thought if a rod was put on tops of houses, the lightning would go to the rods, not in their houses. He called this rod a lightning rod.



Kites and Electricity

Ben liked kites and was fascinated with electricity, so he had a crazy idea. He wanted to test to see if lightning would make electricity. The skies one June day in 1752 were dark and stormy in Philadelphia.† Most people stayed inside to keep dry, but not Benjamin Franklin! He did a dangerous experiment with the kite, a key, and lightning. He proved that lighting is electricity. (Donít try this experiment at home!)



Swimming Kite

When Ben was 10, he decided to try to use his kite to help him swim across a lake quickly.† He tried lying on his back, holding a kite string. He let the kite act like a sail. It pulled him across the pond.† The kite, the wind, and swimming worked!




Molasses and the Ant

Ben wanted to find out if ants talked to each other, so he did an experiment with sticky, sweet molasses and ants. He put out a jar of molasses and one ant. Soon, lots of ants joined that ant. Franklin decided ants must talk to each other.




Capturing Electricity in a Jar

A Leyden Jar is used to store lightning. Ben Franklin caught lightning in a jar using a key and a kite. He got shocked a little, but it made a light inside. The jar looked like a lamp.