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In the Investigating Electric Charge Inquiry Lab Kit for AP® Physics 2, obtain an understanding of the fundamental property known as electric charge.

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AP Physics 2, Big Ideas 1, 3 & 5, Investigation 5

Our everyday experiences are filled with contact forces, such as friction, tension and the normal force; but all these interactions are simply electric forces between trillions of particles scaled to the macroscopic level! The purpose of this advanced-inquiry lab is to obtain an understanding of the fundamental property known as electric charge. 

Students begin with an introductory activity in which they investigate electrostatic interactions between pieces of tape. Students develop an understanding of opposite charges and how charges are transferred. This initial experiment sets the stage for the guided-inquiry design of a procedure to determine the magnitude of electrostatic charge on a hanging pith ball. The results give students applicable experience of Coulomb’s law and help them understand a challenging concept. 

Complete for 24 students working in pairs.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Engaging in argument from evidence
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
HS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Cause and effect
Systems and system models
Energy and matter

Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-5. 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
HS-PS2-4. Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.