This 5e Explore activity on Electric Fields has students work with two different PhET simulations Balloons and Static Electricity and Charges and Fields These investigations help students meet MS-PS-2-3 Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces and
MS-PS-2-5 Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
In the first part of this explore students are given the opportunity to explore a virtual lab from PhET called Balloons and Static Electricity to collect observations and design an investigation to answer the research question “How does the magnitude (amount) of the electric charge affect the strength of the electric field?”
In the second part of this activity students use a virtual lab from PhET called Charges and Fields to collect observations and design an investigation to answer the research questions “What is the relationship between distance from a charge and the strength of the electric field around a charged body?” and “What is the relationship between the magnitude (amount) of charge and the strength of the electric field around a charged body?”.
The PhET simulations are HTML5 so they should work on all browsers. I have used it on Chromebooks and PCs with my own students.
Specific Modifications for Struggling Learners: Lower students can be given more support when finding the net charge of the balloons. This lab is qualitative so most students are able to do the work. For the 2nd lab students can be given the data about the distance as a screen shot to analyze or in table format.
Specific Modifications for Advanced Learners:
For the 1st exploration, students can given a more challenging task by asking them to explore adding different amounts of charges on the balloons and observing how quickly they move towards the charged sweater or the neutral wall.
For the 2nd lab students can be given less hints about what to do with the manipulated variables. Students can also be given the task of graphing the data from each investigation.
I created the PDF versions of the student handouts with fewer full color images to minimize pages needed to be photocopied and ink usage for teachers. The screen shots are included in the teacher notes and answer keys and represent what you should be projecting on to the board as part of the introduction to the simulation.
If you would like more full color images in the student versions please check out the Google doc version of this product.
Contains Zipped Folder with PDFs
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