Students in Mrs. Doherty and Mrs. Cunha’s classrooms turned to their digital devices to shed light on the invisible world of electric charges. Using free simulations available on the web from the University of Colorado’s PhET program, students first observed how balloons are attracted to sweaters after they are rubbed together in real life with the help of a charged Mr. Musselman before turning to the school’s iPad cart.
With initial observations already made, Mr. Callahan helped students useQrafter to quickly link to the balloon and sweater simulations online. From there they were asked to simply “explore” and record any surprised they discovered as they recreated the experiment, and toggled options on and off such as introducing a second balloon to the experiment and a wall that the balloon surprisingly appeared to “stick” to as well!
Towards the end of class the students gathered on the rug and shared their most notable observations. Mr. Musselman recorded them on the board, emphasizing important vocabulary words such as charge, attract, repel,positive, and negative. Students did an excellent job, with Mr. Musselman leaving very impressed at the keen observations and conclusions students were able to draw about electric charges!