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Additional resources for Ben Franklin's Big Shock (On My Own Science)
They had to keep the silk ribbon dry. A soggy ribbon would conduct electricity. They could get shocked. 34 Ben and William watched as a cloud passed over the kite. Ben touched his knuckle to the key. It was cold and dead. William touched it too. Nothing! They waited in the shed, staring at the sky. 36 Ben was about to reel in his kite. Then he noticed that loose threads in the twine were standing on end. It reminded Ben of his electrified hair. Ben moved his knuckle toward the key. ZZZZAP! Charges f lew to his finger.
KABLAM! A bolt of lightning blasted the Franklin home. Neighbors hurried over. The Franklins were safe inside. There was no fire, thanks to Ben. He had had yet another idea. Ben knew that pointy metal attracts electricity, like lightning. So he figured out a way to use metal to protect houses. 41 In September of 1752, Ben had attached a metal rod to his chimney. The nine-foot rod was crowned with a pointed copper tip. A wire ran from the base of the rod. The wire connected to a piece of metal in the ground.
Franklin won great praise for his work with electricity. In 1753, he received the Copley Medal. This was the world’s most important scientif ic award. He even received congratulations from the king of France. Franklin had only two years of formal schooling. Yet he became the most famous scientist in America. 46 Glossary c h a r g e : a stored amount of electricity c o n d u c t o r : a material that allows electricity to pass through it easily e l e c t r i c i t y : a form of energy that is in everything e x p e r i m e n t : a test to find out if an idea is correct l i g h t n i n g : a f lash of light caused by electricity moving between clouds or between a cloud and the ground l i g h t n i n g r o d : a metal rod placed on top of a building.