The Electric Field Lines Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive is intended for use near the middle to later stages of a learning cycle on electric force or electric fields. The Interactive allows a learner to explore the direction and strength of an electric field for a single charge or a configuration of several charges. Charges can be added quite simply by clicking on the Add + or Add - buttons. Charges can then be dragged and re-located. Piling several of these charges on top of each other has the affect of changing the amount of charge at that location. Small lines of force are drawn surrounding each charge. The lines of force are darker/bolder where the forces is greatest and begin to grey at locations where the force is less. 
For teachers wishing to provide their classes with a guided exercise for use of this Interactive, try the Electric Field Lines Exercise. The activity guides students to an understanding of the nature of electric field lines as being directed away from positive charges and towards negative charges. The activity challenges students to construct line diagrams for several instances of two or more charges and to recognize that the curvature of the lines is greatest around objects with a greater quantity of charge. Visit Electric Field Lines Exercise.

Our Electric Field Lines simulation is now available with a Concept Checker. Do the simulation. Then follow it up with the Concept Checker.

Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for the Electric Field Lines Interactive. These include:
  • Minds On Physics Internet Modules:
    The Minds On Physics Internet Modules include a collection of interactive questioning modules that help learners assess their understanding of physics concepts and solidify those understandings by answering questions that require higher-order thinking. Assignments SE10, SE11, and SE12 of the Static Electricity module provide great complements to this Interactive. They are best used in the middle to later stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules.
  • Curriculum/Practice: Several Concept Development worksheets at the Curriculum Corner will be very useful in assisting students in cultivating their understanding, most notably ...

    Charge Interactions
    Electric Fields
    Electric Field Lines

    Visit the Curriculum Corner.

  • Labwork: 
    Simulations should always support (never supplant) hands-on learning. The Laboratory section of The Physics Classroom website includes several hands-on ideas that complement this Interactive. Two notable lab ideas include ...

    Action at a Distance Lab
    Electric Field Lines Lab

    Visit The Laboratory.
  • Science Reasoning Activities:
    Science classrooms should be filled with reasoning activities. There are two related activities in the Static Electricity section of the Science Reasoning Center that will challenge students to employ close reading, data analysis, and logical reasoning. The activities are named ...

    Sticky Tape Experiments
    Charge Interactions

    Visit the Science Reasoning Center.

Additional resources and ideas for incorporating Electric Field Lines into an instructional unit on static electricity can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.


The Physics Classroom would like to extend a special thanks to Nerd Island Studios for the creation of this HTML5 Interactive. Visit their website ( to see more great stuff by Nerd Island Studios.

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