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Ben Franklin and the Electric Fire

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Monday Nov 17, 2014

$1000

Youth Grand Prize

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$200

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$200

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T-Shirt

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A Hair-raising Qu...

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Franklin's Static

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Benjamin Franklin...

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This Video Will S...

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Electric Fire!

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Ben and The Elect...


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Shocking Daddy

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Static Electricty

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Electric Fire

Ever feel a shock when you touch a doorknob or take off a sweater? That’s static electricity! But what is it? Where does it come from? How can I get some? And what does Ben Franklin have to do with it?

We need your help explaining how static electricity was discovered, how it works, and how it can be created.

What is Static Electricity and How is it Created?

Static electricity is a form of electricity that occurs when a difference in charge builds up between the surfaces of objects. Static electricity remains in the object until it is able to move, or discharge, by contact with another object.

We all make static electricity all the time. When you rub a balloon on your hair, the balloon becomes negatively charged because it picks up some electrons from your hair, leaving your hair positively charged. Then, when you then move the balloon near your hair or other positively charged objects, they move toward each other. Opposites attract! Try the same thing with a balloon and some salt and pepper on the table or small pieces of shredded paper. What happens?

Static electricity can also be shocking! To feel (and sometimes see) a static charge, rub your feet on a carpet and then touch an unsuspecting friend or something metal. When you rub your feet on carpet that’s insulated from the ground, you pick up a negative charge and carry it on the surface of your skin. When you then touch a friend who is on the same carpet, or touch a doorknob... ZAP! That negative charge built up on your skin was quickly neutralized with a transfer of charge between you and your friend or the doorknob.

Pro Tip: This is way easier to do in dry weather because there is less moisture in the air. Moisture in the air, which is actually more water particles in the air, will actually draw out or neutralize a charge before you can transfer it via touch!

What about Mr. Franklin?

Benjamin Franklin was the first person to figure out how static electricity works. To uncover this, he performed some experiments that actually were very similar to the balloon and carpet experiments above. In his experiments, he used wax, glass tubes, and, of course, people. He had his subjects stand on wax, rub glass tubes, and touch each other, and he observed and recorded the sparks that flew. His famous conclusion was that "Electrical fire was not created by friction, but collected, being an element diffused among, and attracted by, other matter."

While Franklin called the sparks he saw “electric fire,” his notion that electricity was actually collected, not created, was an important step forward in our understanding.

Help us demonstrate!

In this contest, we need your filmmaking and special effects skills to explain what’s happening when we experience static electricity, and how important Ben Franklin’s breakthroughs were in understanding it. In a video that is no longer than 90 seconds you must:

  • Demonstrate a discharge of static electricity by one person shocking another
  • Use the interaction to expose the definition of static electricity and demonstrate how static charges are built up
  • Tell us how Ben Franklin discovered how static electricity works

Thought starters:

  • The Spirit of Ben Franklin Returns! A static shock between two friends kicks off an epic argument. The spirit of ol’ Ben returns to lay down some knowledge and settle the argument once and for all.
  • The Static Hero! An underdog harnesses the power of static electricity to fight crime and make the world a better place. In the process of becoming a hero, he learns the history and ways to make static electricity.

Submission requirements:

In a video, no longer than 90 seconds, you must:

  • Demonstrate a discharge of static electricity by one person shocking another
  • Use the interaction to expose the definition of static electricity and demonstrate how static charges are built up
  • Tell us how Ben Franklin discovered how static electricity works
  • Meet all official rules and requirements.

Key Dates:

  • August 12, 2014 – Contest opens
  • October 6, 2014 – Last day to submit your video (by 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • October 27, 2014 – Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • On or around November 17, 2014 – Winners announced on the Project ED website

Finalist and Winner Judging Criteria:

Videos will be evaluated based on the following criteria, weighed equally:

  • Educational merit and accuracy: Your video achieves the educational goals presented in the contest brief and viewers learn intended material from your video.
  • Creativity and engagement: Your video presents educational content in a memorable way; viewers are compelled to watch the video to completion. Does your video convey its message in an artistic, creative and innovative way?
  • Quality of video production: Your video has high resolution and audio quality, effectively employs visual aesthetics and cinematography and demonstrates production skills.
  • Appropriate content: Your video does not contain indecent, obscene, hateful, defamatory, or offensive material.

In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken on the basis of the tied entrants’ scores in the “Educational merit and accuracy” criteria.

Prizes:

Prizes per contest vary. In most cases, a grand prize will be awarded to one video in the ‘Youth’ category and one in the ‘Adult’ category. All entries are categorized by age of the submitter. Submitters under the age of 18 are placed into the ‘Youth’ category and submitters 18 years or older are placed in the ‘Adult’ category. All prizes with the exception of the 'Viewer's Choice' award are chose by a panel of judges. In the case of winners under the age of 18, prizes will be awarded to a legal parent or guardian. Rules for each contest explain how and when we will notify you and the date the prizes will be announced. Prizes are awarded at Amplify’s discretion and are subject to the applicable district and school policies. Prizes for teachers may be awarded via DonorChoose.org.

In this contest we will be offering one adult grand prize, one youth grand prize, three finalist prizes, one honorable mention prizes, and one viewers choice prizes. All prizes amounts are in USD where applicable.

Additional Requirements:

  • The video’s creator must be 13 or over.
  • Entrants who are minors must obtain a parent’s or guardian’s consent to enter the contest.
  • You must use appropriate language and content.
  • You must properly clear and credit any source film clips, images, or locations you use. To verify winning entries, participants will be asked to submit proof of proper clearances.
  • You can only submit one entry per contest.
  • If you are employed by a school you must ensure your entry into this contest is in compliance with your institution’s policies.
  • Please carefully read the complete rules listed in the Contest Terms.

Learn More:

From the Library of Congress:

http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/static.html

From Science Made Simple:

http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/static.html

Video Demonstrations:

From Bill Nye the Science Guy:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCAQyCkwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_g100Y3T8gU&ei=NV_iU56XC9imyAS9jIKoAg&usg=AFQjCNE3gf3mrEekITqyayr9V9SWYapb5g

From Stuff to Blow Your Kid’s Mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT_LmwnmVNM

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