Sticky tape is one way to expose students to static electricity and the “charge model.”  I use it in an “open inquiry” investigation enforcing the scientific method (called HBL; also invented independently by the Exploratorium).  

First show students one piece of transparent tape placed on top of another on a table top.  Pull the two pieces of tape together from the table.  Then pull them apart.  As you bring the two pieces of tape near one another again, they attract.  

Give students pieces of tape to play with.  Order them to give an explanation for what you showed them or to play around and find something else they find interesting, an observation they wish to understand.  Give that observation an explanation (logically an inductive process).

Once an explanation is given, find another way to test the explanation. If it is magnetism, give them a magnet and ask them how it will be tested.  If it is static electricity, give them a balloon and ask how it will be tested.  This runs logic the other direction (deduction).

Let them test the predictions to see if they are “supported” or not supported.  We probably learn more from explanations (hypotheses) that are not supported.  It is not a criticism, rather it is a motivation to think of another explanation.  Scientists find this search exhilarating (fun). Students should do the same and become more creative in their thinking.  Creativity is a most satisfying human activity, and addictive too.

Students write up results explaining if experimental  results are supported or not (some may have difficulty indicating non-support). But non-support is a necessary step to becoming an objective observer.

While this is an open inquiry that produces a variety of student results, enforcing the scientific method (observation -> explanation -> prediction -> test or experiment -> analysis -> write up [communication]) is the method to control the class work.

A wrap-up includes student work to emphasize the important concepts covered by the class exercise.

Sticky tape