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Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge during which two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere or ground temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of as much as one billion joules of energy.
See the fact file below for more information on the lightning or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Lightning worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE SCIENCE OF LIGHTNING
- Lightning occurs when two electrically charged regions spark electricity between clouds, the air, or the ground.
- When there is an imbalance between storm clouds and the ground, or within clouds themselves, an electrical discharge sparks.
- Lightning can occur between opposite charges within clouds (which is referred to as intra-cloud lightning) or between opposite charges between the cloud and the ground (called cloud-to-ground lightning).
- When there is a storm, particles of rain, ice, or snow build up in storm clouds and cause an imbalance between the clouds and the ground.
- Usually the particles and storm clouds are negatively charged, and the objects on the ground carry a positive charge which creates the imbalance.
- Before lightning actually happens, nature seeks to remedy this electrical imbalance by passing current between the negative and positive charges.
- Air acts as an insulator between the positive and negative charges in the clouds and on the ground. Once the opposite charges build up enough, the buffer that the air provides gets broken down and the result is a rapid discharge of electricity which we all know as lightning.
- In order for lightning to occur, a few things have to happen:
- There needs to be a high level of electrical tension within two regions of space
- The equalization of these opposite charges must be obstructed
- When lightning strikes, it produces a flash of extremely hot heat which results in the surrounding air to rapidly expand and vibrate, which is when we hear thunder.
- Thunder can be heard up to 25 miles away from the lightning discharge, and the sound waves have different arrival times.
TYPES OF LIGHTNING
- There are three primary types of lightning:
- Intracloud (IC)
- Occurs within a single thundercloud
- In intracloud lightning, the reaction occurs between areas of differing electrical potential
- Most frequently occurring type of lightning
- Commonly occurs between the upper and lower levels of a thunderstorm
- Cloud to Cloud (CC)
- Starts and ends between two different thunderclouds
- Another term for cloud-to-cloud lightning is “Anvil Crawler” for its scrambling motion through cloud layers of a thunderstorm
- This can also be referred to as “Spider lightning”
- Usually seen as a thunderstorm, passes over the observer or when the storm is settling down
- Cloud to ground (CG)
- Begins in a thundercloud and ends on the ground
- Least common type of lightning
- Best understood type of lightning
- Easily measurable by instruments due to it ending on a physical object (Earth)
- Poses the greatest threat to life and property since it strikes the Earth
- Can be positive or negative (positive is more dangerous)
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LIGHTNING
- When lightning strikes, it searches for the quickest route to something with a positive charge.
- Buildings, mountains, skyscrapers, trees, and humans are the most common objects struck by lightning – about 2,000 people are struck by lightning each year.
- For those that survive, lightning strikes can cause memory loss, dizziness, and other life-altering ailments such as severe burns and cardiac arrest. The average American has about a 1 in 5,000 chance of being struck by lightning in their lifetime.
- When lightning strikes a tree, it vaporizes the water inside and causes an influx of steam which can blow the tree apart.
- Lightning can be artificially triggered by launching specially designed rockets that trail long wires which serve as pathways for lightning flashes to occur.
- Scientists have also tried to trigger lightning strikes by using lasers. According to observations, the pulses sent by the laser enhances the electrical activity in the thundercloud which made it more likely to see lightning occur.
- Most lightning occurs over land rather than water; about 70% of lightning occurs in the tropics.
- The average temperature of lightning is around 36,000 ℉.
- The study of lightning is known as fulminology.
- Many factors affect the distribution and frequency, as well as the strength and properties of lightning in particular regions around the world.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about lightning across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Lightning worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the lightning which is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge during which two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere or ground temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of as much as one billion joules of energy.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Which Came First?
- Effects of Lightning
- Lightning Wordsearch
- Volcanoes and Lightning?
- Stormy Sky Painting
- Lightning Around the World
- Lightning Crossword
- Design a Lightning Bolt
- Lightning Acrostic
- High Voltage Vocabulary
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Link will appear as Lightning Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 20, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.