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Lightning Facts for Kids

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Last updated date: 15th Jul 2024
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What is Lightning? Learning About Lightning Information

You must have seen the lightning flashing in the sky before or during the rain.  Often when the sky is overcast and there is a strong wind, lightning flashes. Lightning is seen flashing before the rain or even in the middle of the rain.  Come, why does the lightning flash?

There is moisture in the clouds. This moisture is in the form of very fine particles of water in the clouds. There is friction between air and water particles. Friction generates electricity and the water particles become charged. Some clusters of clouds are positive and some are negatively charged. When positively and negatively charged clouds come close to each other, they collide, producing very high-power lightning. This causes the electric current to move in the air between the two types of clouds. The flow of electric current produces a bright flash of light. This glow in the sky usually arises only at a height of two-ton kilometres. After this glow is generated, we also hear the thunder of clouds. There is a close relationship between lightning and thunder.    


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Lightning Falling on the Ground


Why do Clouds Thunder Only After Lightning Strikes?

A lot of heat is produced by the current flowing in the air. Due to the heat in the air, it expands very fast and millions of its molecules collide with each other.  The sound of thunder is produced when these molecules collide with each other. At the higher speed of light, we see the flash of lightning earlier.  Since the speed of sound is less than the speed of light, the thunder of clouds reaches us late.


Types of Lightning

There are various ways by which lightning is caused. Some of these are:

1. Single Cloud Lightning: There is no sound in this type of lightning, in which the positive charge in the same cloud collects above and the negative charge below, and gets scattered among themselves. Due to this, there is only a little lightning in the sky.

2. Cloud to Cloud Lightning: In this, two different cloud-positive clouds get attracted by the negative cloud and become short. Due to this the sound also comes with a very loud brightness. But it also does not fall on the ground.


Cloud to Cloud Lightning


Cloud to Cloud Lightning


3. Falling to the Ground: In this, there is an interaction between the cloud to the ground.  In this lightning clouds with a negative charge fall on the ground searching for a positive charge which is called lightning. This type of lighting is the most dangerous.


Lightning Falling on the Ground


Lightning Falling on the Ground


Effects of Lighting

  • Direct Strike Thunderbolt - Direct Strike Thunderbolt can strike the victim directly.  This situation is very dangerous. 

  • Contact Injury - This condition occurs when lightning strikes an object, car or metal pole with which the victim is touching.  A person suffering from such a condition can be seriously injured.

  • Side Flash - This occurs when lightning is scattered or collides with an object.  Due to which the object of a tree or pole etc. may fall on the victim.

  • Ground Current - This occurs when lightning strikes the ground near the victim and the ground current strikes the victim through the ground.

  • Streamers - When lightning or thunder charges the air, energy impacts or streamers can come up from objects near the ground, sometimes these streamers go upwards through people.  causing harm to the victims.

  • Explosion Injury - Due to the explosion effect of electricity, the victim can be thrown far from the site, due to which he can be seriously hurt.


Lightning Falling on the Trees


Lightning Falling on the Trees


Solved Questions

1. Write True or False.

  1. Cloud-to-cloud lightning directly falls on the ground. - False

  2. There is no sound in a single cloud of lightning. - True

  3. The speed of sound is less than the speed of light. - True

  4. Lightning is not dangerous for us. - False


2. Why should we protect ourselves against lightning?

Ans: The lightning that falls is of 100 million volts, in which 10000-ampere current runs.  Our body cannot tolerate this much current at all and it can kill us if it falls directly on us. So It can be very dangerous for us. We should protect ourselves against it. 


Learning by Doing

Kids Activity: Salt and Pepper Static Electricity Experiment

Materials: A shallow bowl, Salt, Pepper, Spoon and Plastic comb.

Instructions:

  • Put some salt and pepper in a bowl and mix it well.

  • Run a plastic comb through the hair to give it a steady charge.

(By the way, we found that if one person charges the comb and then hands it to another person, it doesn't stay charged. The person who wants to use it must also be the one to charge the comb.)

  • Place the statically charged comb over the bowl, and the comb will attract the pepper causing it to jump out of the bowl.  (It was amazing to see!  You can see tiny bits of pepper flying to the comb.)


Summary

In this chapter, we have studied many things related to Lighting. Now, you must have understood what lighting is and its causes and many important things related to lighting. We have also seen the types of lighting in this chapter. There are mostly three important types of lightning: cloud-to-cloud lightning, single cloud lightning, and falling to the ground lightning. Lastly, we had done one activity which helps you to understand static electricity.

FAQs on Lightning Facts for Kids

1. How to avoid lightning?

Do not go to areas with high buildings because there is a high risk of lightning.  If you are talking on mobile then be careful, it can prove to be fatal.  If the car is in the vehicle, then stay in it but stay away from the bike because the feet stay on the ground in it.  Do not go near the bridge with iron pillars at all.  Immediately turn off the electric appliances like TV, fridge etc. in the house.  Keep a distance from ponds, water bodies and swimming pools.

2. What are the interesting facts about lightning?

Some interesting facts about lightning for kids are as follows:

  • Every year, 20 to 25 thousand people die due to lightning.

  • Every second, lightning strikes the earth 100 times.

  • The highest chance of being struck by lightning is in the afternoon.

  • 28 June is declared as International Lightning Safety Day.

3. Why does lightning fall?

Lightning is the release of static energy when the electric charge between the earth and the clouds deteriorates. There is a huge electric spark in the sky, towers, tall trees, houses or humans when they become positively charged.  The positive electricity coming out of it goes upwards, it is called a streamer.  This is the reason why high things are more prone to lightning.