(answered) Gizmoz; Student Exploration: Pith Ball Lab 2021

Student Exploration: Pith Ball Lab

Directions: Follow the instructions to go through the simulation. Respond to the questions and

prompts in the orange boxes.

Vocabulary: Coulomb’s law, electrostatic force, gravitational force, induced charge, pith ball, Pythagorean

Theorem, tension, vector

Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.)

1. A girl rubs a balloon on her head and then holds it a short distance away.

Why does her hair stick to the balloon?

2. Why do you think the individual strands of hair are spread apart?

Gizmo Warm-up

The girl’s hair was attracted to the balloon by the electrostatic force, a force

between all charged objects. Most objects acquire a charge (q) by gaining or

losing electrons. Objects that gain electrons become negatively charged, while

objects that lose electrons become positively charged.

The Pith Ball Lab Gizmo shows two pith balls hanging by strings. Pith balls are

made from lightweight material that can easily acquire a charge. To begin, check

that the charge on each pith ball (q1 and q2

) is 0.0 × 10

-6 coulombs (C).

Use the sliders to test each combination of charges listed below. State whether the electrostatic force is

attractive (balls move together), repulsive (balls move apart), or zero (balls don’t move).

Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved

Name: Leevian Chen Date: November 6th, 2020

The electrons of her hair move to the balloon, allowing the balloon

to be negatively charged and her hair positively charged. Since

her hair is positively charged it becomes attracted to the balloon

which is negatively charged.

Since the hair is positively charged they repel each other.

Charge on left ball (q1

) Charge on right ball (q2

) Electrostatic force

Positive Zero Zero

Zero Negative Zero

Positive Positive Repulsive

Negative Negative Repulsive

Positive Negative Attractive

Question: What factors affect the force between charged objects?

1. Summarize: Summarize what you have learned so far by filling in the blanks:

*Note: For simplicity, the Pith Ball Lab Gizmo does not show induced charge. An induced charge occurs

when a charged object is brought near a neutral object, causing the electrons in the neutral object to move

away from or towards the charged object. This results in an attractive force between the charged object

and the neutral object.

2. Predict: How do you think the strength of electrostatic force is related to the charges on the balls and the

distance between them?

3. Observe: Set q1

to -5.0 × 10

-6 C. Gradually decrease q2 below 0.0 × 10

-6 C.

4. Observe: Now slowly increase q2 above 0.0 × 10

-6 C. What do you observe, and what does this tell you

about the electrostatic force?

Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved

Activity A:

Coulomb’s law

Get the Gizmo ready:

● Set q1 and q2

to 0.0 × 10

-6 C.

● Set the mass of the pith balls to 5 grams.

● Check that g is 9.8 m/s

2 and L is 0.50 m.

If the two charges are the same, the force is Repulsive

If the two charges are opposite, the force is Attractive

If one of the charges is zero, the force is Zero

A higher charge will produce a higher force because it is directly proportional.

A. What do you observe? As q2 decreases, the pith balls repel each other further

and further apart.

B. What does this tell you about the force

between the pith balls?

When q2 decreases the repulsive forces between the

two pith balls increase.

As q2

increases, the balls move closer and closer together. When above 0.3 × 10-6 C,

the pith balls are pulled closely together. This means that the electrostatic force is an

attractive force and increases as q2


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