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Natural Science - Year II

Unit 50: Early Theories of Electricity

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Lab Assignment for Unit 50

This Unit's Homework Page History Lecture Science Lecture Lab Parents' Notes

Unit 50 Laboratory Activity: A Simple Electroscope

Goal: To make and use a simple charge detection device.

Materials and Procedure

Follow the instructions on building and using a simple electroscope found here: 1955 Popular Electronics Electroscope.

Read up on electrostatic charges and the electroscope at the physics classroom.

Review the historical information about electroscopes: Kenyon University site.

Once you have built the electroscope and are familiar with the theory behind its operation, use your electroscope to detect electric charge on at least three different charged objects. See if you can figure out a way to quantify your sense for how strong the charge is and make specific measurements for comparison. For example, can you create a scale that allows you to measure how far apart the leaves are? Can you use the electroscope to determine whether the charged object is positive or negative?


Submit a formal report with your data and conclusions presented in standard lab report format.