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PhET Simulation Example

PhET Simulation Example

Author: Carrie Fruin

Learning Target:

  • I can describe and draw models for common static electricity concepts (transfer of charge, attraction, repulsion, and grounding).
  • I understand how a charge builds up.
  • I understand static electricity.
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Instructional Possibilities

Included in this lesson are several different methods of using PhET and Sophia in order to engage young learners. The formative assessment is the included quiz at the right of the page as well as the google form embedded beneath the simulation. Using this type of technology can decrease the amount of time kids search for sites or get distracted by other items. Classroom instructional time is increased as is the 1:1 interaction with students.

Balloons and Static Electricity

Why does a balloon stick to your sweater? Rub a balloon on a sweater, and observe what happens. Watch what happens to the charges.

Source: PhET; Katherine Frett - quiz questions

John Travoltage

Make sparks fly with John Travoltage. Wiggle Johnnie's foot and he picks up charges from the carpet. See what happens as you bring his hand close to the door knob.​ 

Source: PhET; Katherine Frett - quiz questions

Electricity Inquiry Activity

Using the simulation links above, complete the following handout.


Source: dorina kosztin

Electricity Activity

Click on the link below to start the simulation. Complete the following exercise in your science notebook.

John Travoltage

  1. Experiment with rubbing Travolta’s foot against the carpet and touching his finger to the door handle.
  2. Now try building up charge while his finger is on the door.
  3. Record what happens.
  4. Move his finger away again and build up another charge
  5. When Travolta’s finger is near the door knob, record what happens to the electrons currently in the metal door knob.
  6. Why are shocks worse when you touch conductors rather than insulators?
  7. If you take your hat off on a dry winter day, sometimes your hair will stand up.  Explain this phenomenon. 

Once you have finished, complete the form below.

Source: PhET; Sarah Stanhope

Google Form Example

One way to make sure students are completing and/or mastering learning targets is to have them complete google forms. The responses are collected in your drive and can be graded by Flubaroo, results emailed by Doctopus or even recorded feedback using Kaizena. (Search any of them in our library to learn more.)