Electricity is a stream of electrons that gives off energy as light and heat. In lightning, electrons flash between clouds or from a cloud to the ground. But you dont have to be struck by lightning to get zapped. When you scuff your feet on a rug, electrons from the rug rub off onto you. If you touch a metal doorknob, which conducts electrons well, the electrons will leap into the metal. The energy transfer gives you a tiny electric shock. Electricity that builds up in this way is called static electricity.
Rub a comb against fur, silk, nylon, or wool; the comb will collect electrons and become negatively charged. That causes it to attract objects that are positively charged. Hold the comb near a trickle of water from a faucet, salt and pepper, threads, a table-tennis ball, scraps of paper, your hair, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Watch what happens.
Illustration by Loel Barr