The electron, an elementary particle of matter, has a negative charge. Exactly how much electrical charge does one electron have? In the early twentieth century, Robert Millikan quantified the charge of a single electron through a series of carefully designed experiments using electrically-charged oil drops. In this analogous activity, BBs attracted to magnets of various sizes represent electrons on the oil drops. After making careful measurements, students analyze the data to determine the mass of one BB—using the same reasoning employed by Millikan in his oil-drop experiments—without weighing any known quantity of BBs! A great activity to help students understand the development of the atomic theory of matter from a historical perspective.
Complete for 30 students working in pairs. Balances with 0.01-g precision are recommended.
Additional ResourcesNo Additional Resources at the time.
Flinn Catalog/Reference Manual Page 405
Flinn Middle School Catalog/Reference Manual Page 270
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