I had my students do this experiment and we were able to get a small spark that you could feel and here off of the pie plate but were unable to charge the Leyden Jar. It was actually cool because my students instictively started trying all sorts of different things to get it to work. We tried different length nails, varying the water levels, more foil, less foil. We charged a single jar with 10 different plates and we still weren't able to get a spark. Any suggestions. I taught in SF for 3 years and had Modesto for a teacher at SF State. I am now teaching in a 2 teacher/20 student rural school in New Zealand. You will be happy to know that the other teacher was well aware of the Exploratorium website.
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