Day 11: Improving the Sticky Tape Lab

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The traditional sticky tape lab for introducing electrostatics can be a bit confusing — particularly when students create a pair of oppositely charged tapes by using a “base tape” and piggy-backing an additional pair of tapes (“top” and “bottom” or “upper” and “lower”). I’ve found a simpler and less confusing way to create oppositely charged tapes by using different surfaces: Desk,Transparency, Foil, and Ruler. In my experiments, I’ve found that D and tapes repel each other, F and tapes repel each other, while and R tapes attract F and T tapes.

In our lab today, we did not use the R tape. I am saving it for later. Also, we’ll do the Upper and Lower charged tapes later when we discuss how objects become charged. The U and L tapes can be compared to the D, R, F, and T tapes to show that the U and L tapes are indeed charged.

And in the end, we can use these results to point out that (so far) there are only 2 types of charge, even though we have 6 different kinds of charged tapes.

I didn’t have a worksheet for the lab. I just had the following projected on slides:

LAB #2: Charge Interactions

Part I: Determine how charged and uncharged objects interact with each other.

Three types of charged tape:

  1. Tape peeled off desk
  2. Tape peeled off overhead transparency
  3. Tape peeled off foil

Two types of uncharged objects:

  1. Strip of paper
  2. Strip of foil

Observe and record the interactions between all possible pairs of objects.

 

Analysis:

(1) Make a claim for the behavior of charged objects with other charged objects. JUSTIFY your claim with evidence (ie, your observations).

(2) There were 3 different ways to charge the tape. Are there 3 types of charge? JUSTIFY your claim with evidence (ie, your observations).

(3) Make a claim for the behavior of charged objects with uncharged objects. JUSTIFY your claim with evidence (ie, your observations).

 

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About Frank Noschese

HS Physics Teacher constantly questioning my teaching.

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