Do Try This At Home: How to make your own lightning

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 11:19 AM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - In this week’s Do Try This At Home with the Don Harrington Discovery Center, we’ll learn how to make your own lightning.

Follow the steps below to do the experiment:


  • aluminum pie pan
  • small piece of wool fabric
  • styrofoam plate
  • pencil with a new eraser
  • Thumbtack


  • Push the thumbtack through the center of the aluminum pie pan from the bottom
  • Push the eraser end of the pencil into the thumbtack.
  • Put the styrofoam plate upside-down on a table. Quickly, rub the underneath of the plate with the wool for a couple of minutes.
  • Pick up the aluminum pie pan using the pencil as a handle and place it on top of the upside-down styrofoam plate that you were just rubbing with the wool.
  • Touch the aluminum pie pan with your finger. You should feel a shock. If you don’t feel anything, try rubbing the styrofoam plate again
  • Once you feel the shock, try turning the lights out before you touch the pan again. Check out what you see! You should see a spark!!


  • Why does this happen? It’s all about static electricity. Lightning happens when the negative charges, which are called electrons, in the bottom of the cloud or in this experiment your finger are attracted to the positive charges, which are called protons, in the ground or in this experiment the aluminum pie pan. The resulting spark is like a mini lightning bolt.

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