We begin our exploration of electrostatics with three fun activities. These activities motivate the explorations which follow.

Flying Hydra, create a plastic "hydra" give it an electric charge, and fly it using electrostatic repulsion.

Flying Tinsel, make a loop out of aluminized mylar, bring a highly charged PVC rod near the loop. Charge will jump from the rod to the loop. The loop can then be flown by repulsion.

Electrostatic Motor , a large 2 by 4 beam can be made to rotate by electrostatic forces.

To explain the above activities we need to do a few more preparatory explorations.

The following explorations come in two forms, a short form and a long one.

The long exploration is given first they give more chance for inquiry. The shorter explorations are more directed. Both are open ended.

In this first activity we create over a thousand volts and use it to make sparks which can be seen, heard and felt. This activity is interesting and serves as a bridge between the fun activities above and the foundation building exploration which follows.

Longer Investigation Electrophorus

Shorter version, Snack Charge and Carry

The tape electroscope is a tool which will allow us to measure the sign of the charge on an object. It allows us to figure out what charges are present in all of the above activities and explorations.

Longer Exploration Tape Electroscope

Shorter versions Electroscope snack
Tape Electroscope (short)


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Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 1999

25 May 2000